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Division  JBS  I  L  7  5 
Section    .B.MS4 

Wheiein  Have  We  Robbed  God^? 

XVorK-s    of 

G.    Campbell  Morgcin 


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^Gi^ herein  Ha-Ve   We 

'Robbed     God? 

Malachi's  Message  to  the  Men  of  To-day 
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Malachi's  Message  to 
the    Men    of    To-day 

Rev.  G.  Campbell  Morgan 

Author  of  "  Discipleship,"  "  The  Hidden  Years  at  Nazareth, 
Etc.,  Etc. 

New  York       Chicago       Toronto 

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Publishers  of  Evangelical  Literature 

Copyright,   1898 


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These  studies  in  the  book  of  Malachi  were 
delivered  as  addresses  to  the  students  at  Mr. 
Moody's  Bible  School  in  Chicago,  and  then  to 
my  own  congregation. 

They  have  also  appeared  in  ^'The  Record  of 
Christian  Work  "  in  the  United  States,  and  in 
"Out  and   Out"   in   England. 

They  are  now  sent  out  in  a  more  permanent 
form,  after  careful  revision,  with  the  prayer  that 
they  may  be  used  of  God  in  calling  His  own 
children  into  the  place  of  power  without  which 
form  is  nothing. 


New  Court  Chapel 






Tpie  Spirit  of  the  Age 25 


The  Complaints  of  Jehovah .  .       41 

The  Divine  Attitude 63 

The  Elect  Remnant 85 

The  Final  Word 109 




In"  order  that  we  may  approach  the  study  of 
this  book  intelligently,  it  is  necessary  that  cer- 
tain principles  of  interpretation  should  be  rec- 
ognized and  accepted.  To  the  statement  and 
consideration  of  these  principles  this  introduc- 
tory chapter  is  devoted. 

Eead  first  in  Paul's  letters  to  the  Eomans, 
XV.  4 :  "  For  whatsoever  things  were  written 
aforetime  were  written  for  our  learning,  that 
we  through  patience  and  comfort  of  the  Scrip- 
tures might  have  hope."  If  we  consider  that 
verse  in  its  setting  we  shall  find  that  Paul, 
having  made  a  quotation  from  the  Old  Testa- 
ment Scriptures,  interpolates  upon  the  general 
scheme  of  his  argument,  a  declaration  that  the 
inspired  writing  of  Scripture  does  not  exhaust 
itself  in  that  particular  age  to  which  it  is  ad- 
dressed. That  is  one  of  the  peculiar  notes  of 
inspiration.  Inspired  writings  differ  from  all 
others,  in  that  they  are  not  produced  for  one 
age  exclusively,  but  have  perpetually  a  varying 
application  to  varying  ages. 

12  "Wherein?" 

The  finest  literature  the  Avorld  has  produced, 
apart  from  the  literature  of  the  Bible,  while  it 
will  remain  interesting  for  long  years — even 
though  the  conditions  of  the  age  to  which  it 
appealed  may  have  changed — will  not  have  a 
living  and  practical  application  to  any  age  save 
that  in  which  it  was  penned.  The  writings  of 
Chaucer  are  of  absorbing  interest  to  English- 
men to-day,  because  they  reveal  to  us  the  age 
in  which  they  were  produced,  but  they  have 
no  vital  message  to  the  men  of  to-day. 

In  that  particular,  this  whole  Book  of  God 
is  in  entire  contrast  to  all  other  writings.  All 
Scripture  "  written  aforetime  "  had  a  local  ap- 
plication, and  a  distinctive  message  to  the 
times  in  which  it  was  written,  but  it  was  writ- 
ten also  "  for  our  learning." 

The  apostle,  in  this  verse,  makes  use  of  the 
word  "  Scriptures  " — "  that  we  through  pa- 
tience and  comfort  of  the  Scriptures  might  have 
hope."  This  word  occurs  in  the  JS'ew  Testa- 
ment no  less  than  fifty-one  times ;  and,  with 
only  one  exception,  is  used  in  reference  to  the 
recognized  Scriptures  of  the  people  of  Israel, 
known  to  us  as  the  Old  Testament.  It  may  be 
well  for  us  to  turn  to  that  one  exception,  be- 
cause it  will  enable  us  to  keep  that  fact  in 
mind.  2  Peter  iii.  16  :  "As  also  in  all  his  epis- 
tles, speaking  in  them  of  these  things ;  in  which 
are  some  things  hard  to  be  understood,  which 

Introductory  13 

they  that  are  unlearned  and  unstable  wrest,  as 
they  do  also  the  other  Scriptures,  unto  their 
own  destruction." 

It  is  probable  that  when  Peter  makes  use  of 
the  phrase  "  other  Scriptures,"  he  may  be  re- 
ferring principally  to  New  Testament  writings 
which  are  beginning  to  be  scattered.  It  is  not 
an  established  fact.  He  may  have  referred  in 
this  case,  as  in  every  other,  to  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, but  there  is  a  probability  that  he  is 
making  reference  to  New  Testament  writings 
—to  those  letters  that  are  being  distributed  to 
the  Church  of  Jesus  Christ.  That  is  the  only 
case  in  the  New  Testament  where  it  is  at  all 
possible  to  read  into  the  expression  "Scrip- 
tures" that  interpretation.  In  every  other 
case  the  term  refers  to  the  recognized  Scrip- 
tures of  the  Jewish  people ;  and  in  that  fact 
we  discover  that  the  New  Testament  has  put 
its  decided  seal  upon  the  Old.  You  cannot 
say,  "  I  take  the  New  and  not  the  Old."  If 
you  accept  the  New,  the  Old  is  interwoven 
into  every  book  that  the  New  contains. 

In  this  connection  I  would  suggest  a  pro- 
foundly interesting  experiment  to  Bible  stu- 
dents, which,  while  it  is  an  experiment,  is  nev- 
ertheless profitable.  Take  your  New  Testa- 
ment, and  for  once  read  it  through  from  a  lit- 
erary standpoint,  with  the  object  of  finding 
out   how   many  chapters  there  are  in  which 

14  "Wherein?" 

there  is  no  quotation  from,  and  no  allusion  to, 
the  Old,  and  see  how  much  you  have  left. 

Here  then  is  a  principle  that  we  must  keep 
In  memory — what  was  "written  aforetime" 
was  written  not  only  with  a  direct  bearing 
upon  the  time,  but  "for  our  learning."  In 
other  words,  when  the  Holy  Spirit  of  God 
moved  men  of  old  to  write,  He  not  only  moved 
them  to  write  with  a  view  to  the  interests  of 
the  times  in  which  they  lived,  but  with  a  view 
to  all  who  should  come  after  them. 


Let  us  now  turn  to  one  of  the  most  impor- 
tant of  the  Old  Testament  Scriptures,  Deuter- 
onomy vi.  1-4,  "  JN'ow  these  are  the  command- 
ments, the  statutes,  and  the  judgments,  which 
the  Lord  your  God  commanded  to  teach  you, 
that  ye  might  do  them  in  the  land  whither  ye 
go  to  possess  it :  That  thou  mightest  fear  the 
Lord  thy  God,  to  keep  all  His  statutes  and  His 
commandments,  which  I  command  thee,  thou, 
and  thy  son,  and  thy  son's  son,  all  the  days  of 
thy  life ;  and  that  th}^  days  may  be  prolonged. 
Hear  therefore,  O  Israel,  and  observe  to  do  it ; 
that  it  may  be  well  with  thee,  and  that  ye  may 
increase  mightily,  as  the  Lord  God  of  thy  fath- 
ers hath  promised  thee,  in  the  land  that  flow- 
eth  with  milk  anc^ honey.  Hear,  O  Israel: 
The  Lord  our  God  is  one  Lord."     Among  the 

Introductory  1 5 

tuiiij^.*!  '"  written  aforetime  "  is  to  be  found  this 
statei!^  ent  of  a  great  principle  underlying  all 
life.  The  whole  economy  of  Divine  Govern- 
ment gathers  round  that  verse:  "Hear,  O 
Israel :  the  Lord  our  God  is  one  Lord."  That 
was  the  special  truth  that  was  committed  to 
the  nation  of  Israel  to  preserve  as  a  sacred 
thing,  amid  the  nations  of  the  earth.  It  is  the 
central  truth  of  all  Divine  Government  and  of 
all  human  life :  "  God  is  one." 

Mathematics  is  spoken  of  as  being  an  exact 
science.  Is  it  exact  ?  I  think  not.  IS'othing 
is  absolutely  proved.  That  two  and  two  make 
four,  no  one  can  prove.  It  never  has  been 
proved,  and  it  is  quite  impossible  to  prove  it — ■ 
that  is,  you  cannot  demonstrate  the  truth  of 

Euclid  is  exact  surely ;  it  is  built  up  step  by 
step ;  you  cannot  do  Book  11. ,  until  you  have 
done  Book  I.  Come  back  to  the  early  days  of 
school  life,  and  every  boy  knows  he  cannot  do 
his  "  Pons  Asinorum "  without  knowing  the 
first  proposition.  It  must  then  be  exact.  Let 
us  examine  it.  How  is  it  built  up  ?  Unless 
you  learn  your  definitions,  and  believe  in  them, 
you  cannot  do  Euclid.  What  are  your  defini- 
tions ?  "A  point  is  position  without  magni- 
tude." Absolutely  absurd  !  You  cannot  have 
position  without  magnitude.  The  instant  you 
admit  position  you  admit  magnitude,     "  A  line 

l6  "  Wherein  ?  " 

is  length  without  breadth."     Equally  absurd ! 
You  cannot  have  one  without  the  other. 

So  our  exact  things  are  built  up  on  impossi- 
bilities and  absurd  positions.  All  mathemat- 
ical science  may  be  reduced  to  a  common  fact. 
What  is  that  common  fact?  One!  "When 
you  have  said  "  one  "  you  have  said  "  two," 
and  when  you  have  said  a  "  million  "  you  have 
said  "  one."  You  cannot  get  beyond  "  one." 
One  is  essential,  two  is  accidental. 

"  The  Lord  your  God  is  one  Lord."  God  is 
behind  everything  the  final  certain  One.  You 
cannot  analyze,  or  divide,  or  explain  Him,  yet 
He  is  the  one  and  only  absolute  certainty. 
He  is  One,  all-comprehending,  indivisible. 
When  you  have  said  that,  you  have  said  all. 
When  you  have  omitted  that,  you  have  left 
everything  out,  and  babbled  only  in  chaotic 

From  that  truth  I  make  a  deduction.  If 
God  is  one^  then  the  principles  and  the  pur- 
poses of  His  government  never  vary.  Dispen- 
sations and  methods  change ;  the  will  of  God 
never  changes,  never  varies,  never  progresses, 
in  that  sense.  What  does  progress  mean? 
Failure!  What  does  advancement  mean? 
Past  limitations  !  You  cannot  progress  unless 
there  has  been  failure  somcAvhere.  If  I  can 
be  better  in  five  minutes  than  I  am  now,  I  am 
Avrong  now.     Progress  is  a  confession  of  fail- 

Introductory  \n 

ure.  When  this  age  boasts  of  its  vaunted 
progress,  it  is  telling  the  story  of  the  failure 
of  the  past.  God  never  makes  progress,  never 
advances.  Consequently  He  is  not  always  do- 
ing as  we  are,  legislating  for  man — framing 
new  laws  because  the  old  ones  have  failed. 
The  will  of  right,  love,  and  tenderness.  His 
will  is  eternal. 

Dispensations  come  and  go,  dawm  and  van- 
ish; but  God  remains  the  same,  underneath, 
with,  and  in  each.  Some  i^eople  speak  as 
though  God  had  not  only  altered  His  methods, 
but  His  mind.  I  agree  that  He  has  changed 
His  methods,  but  His  mind,  never !  God  did 
not  begin  to  love  man  Avhen  Jesus  came. 
Jesus  came  to  roll  back  the  curtain  and  show 
man  the  heart  that  Avas  eternal,  the  love  that 
was  always  there.  Christianity  is  not  God's 
alteration  of  attitude  toward  man.  It  is  not 
that  in  the  old  dispensation  He  was  a  police- 
man, and  in  this  a  father.  He  has  always 
been  a  father.  He  never  changes. 

Dispensations  and  methods  mark  the  change 
of  man,  and  the  necessary  change  in  the  way 
the  Divine  Hand  is  placed  upon  human  life, 
but  behind  everything — God  ! 

God  the  same  abiding, 
His  praise  shall  tune  my  voice, 

And  while  in  Him  confiding 
I  cannot  but  rejoice. 

i8  "Wherein?" 

We  must  get  our  feet  down  upon  this  abid- 
ing rock.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  the  Old 
Testament  Scriptures  are  of  value.  The  acci- 
dents of  human  life  perpetually  change ;  the 
essentials  abide  forever. 


If  we  accept  these  principles  we  can  now 
move  forward  another  step.  The  prophetic 
messages  are  preeminently  suited,  as  it  seems 
to  me,  to  the  age  in  which  we  live,  and  there 
is  a  sense  in  which  they  are  of  more  value  to- 
day than  even  the  writings  of  the  apostles. 

I  do  not  undervalue  these  apostolic  writings, 
but  there  are  reasons  why  the  prophetic  utter- 
ances come  with  greater  force. 

The  apostolic  writings  are  expositions  of 
God's  new  application  of  eternal  truth  in  a 
new  dispensation.  With  Jesus,  the  new  dis- 
pensation dawned,  a  fresh  light  broke  upon 
the  senses  of  man.  New  methods  came  into 
operation.  The  Eternal  God  is  the  same, 
but  fresh  light  from  the  essential  light  of 
Deity  broke  forth,  and  the  apostles  under  in- 
spiration— inspiration  which  grew  out  of  local 
requirements — wrote  their  definition  of  that 
new  light.  To  us,  their  writings  are  the  prisms 
which  divide  the  essential  light  into  its  com- 
ponent parts  and  glories.  And  so  I  read  the 
apostolic  writings,  and  I  have  my  theology. 

Introductory  ig 

Tliey  are  most  valuable,  we  can  never  do  with- 
out them.  // 

The  prophetic  Avritings  are  not  expositions 
of  truth  in  that  sense  at  all.  They  are  almost 
invariably  addressed  to  people  who  know 
truth  as  enshrined  in  their  own  dispensation, 
and  they  are  messages  to  call  these  people  to 
be  obedient  thereto. 

In  that  sense  the  prophetic  writings  come 
to  us  with  a  force  that  the  apostolic  writings 
do  not  possess.  We  know  the  truth  of  God  as 
no  other  age  has  ever  linown  it,  and  yet  there 
never  was  a  time  when  men,  knowing  and  liv- 
ing under  its  blessings,  were  less  obedient  to  it 
than  now.  So  then  the  "  Scriptures  written 
aforetime  for  our  learning"  demand  our  at- 
tention, and  will  always  repay  solemn  search- 
ing, and  prayerful  inquiry  as  to  their  deep  and 
inner  meaning.  Such  are  the  principles  upon 
which  we  base  our  study. 


Now  as  to  the  times  of  the  book  of  Malachi 
and  its  author.  It  is  almost  universally  ad- 
mitted— indeed,  one  may  say  that  it  is  so  far 
admitted  that  there  remains  no  doubt  or  ques- 
tion about  it — that  the  book  occupies  its  right 
place  in  the  arrangement  of  the  Old  Testament 
Scriptures,  that  Malachi  himself  was  the  last  of 
the  Old  Testament  prophets. 

20  "  Wherein  ?  " 

There  can  be  little  doubt  further,  that  the 
message  is  closely  associated  with  the  work  of 
J^ehemiah,  and  if  Malachi  is  to  be  read  intelli- 
gently, N^ehemiah  should  be  read  at  the  same 
time.  Malachi  bears  a  Divine  message  to  the 
condition  of  things  portrayed  in  the  history  of 
Nehemiah.  The  proofs  of  this  are  largely  and 
mostly  to  be  found  in  the  books  themselves. 
Let  us  turn  to  only  three  coincidences. 

i.  ]S"ehemiah  xiii.  29 :  "  Eemember  them,  O 
my  God,  because  they  have  defiled  the  priest- 
hood, and  the  covenant  of  the  priesthood,  and 
of  the  Levites."     Eemembering  the  force  of 
these  words,  turn  to  the  prophecy  of  Malachi 
ii.  8  :    "  But  ye  are  departed  out  of  the  way  ; 
ye  have  caused  man}^  to  stumble  at  the  law ; 
ye  have  corrupted  the  covenant  of  Levi,  saith 
the  Lord  of  Hosts."     Xehemiah  complains  in 
the  closing  years  of  his  history  that  the  priest- 
hood has  corrupted  the  covenant ;  while  Mala- 
chi, in  this  second  chapter,  addresses  himself 
very  largely  to  the  priests,  and  the  specific 
charge   that   he  brings  against  them  is  that 
they  have  corrupted  the  covenant  of  Levi.     It 
is  a  peculiar  expression  which  we  shall  con- 
sider more  closely  when  we  come  to  study  the 
book  itself. 

ii.  In  that  same  chapter  of  E'ehemiah  (read- 
ing from  the  twenty-third  verse  to  the  twenty- 
seventh)   you   find  that  J^ehemiah  complains 

Introductory  2 1 

that  the  peculiar  people  of  God  have  entered 
into  nnholy  alliance  with  idolaters  in  the  way 
of  marriage,  and  follows  that  complaint  by 
separating  those  thus  united.  Malachi  speaks 
of  exactly  the  same  condition  of  things  in  the 
second  chapter  (verses  ten  to  sixteen),  the  evil 
of  mixed  marriages,  and  the  awful  neglect 
which  ends  in  the  tears  and  sobs  of  the  women 
about  the  altars  of  God. 

iii.  Again,  in  the  last  chapter  of  Nehemiah 
and  the  tenth  verse :  "  I  perceived  that  the 
portions  of  the  Levites  had  not  been  given 
them:  for  the  Levites  and  the  singers,  that 
did  the  work,  were  fled  every  one  to  his  field." 
Malachi  iii.  10  calls  attention  to  this  omission, 
saying,  "  Bring  ye  all  the  tithes  into  the  store- 
house, that  there  may  be  meat  in  Mine  house, 
and  prove  Me  now  herewith,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts,  if  I  will  not  open  you  the  windows  of 
heaven."  These  three  notes  establish  the  fact 
that  Malachi's  prophecy  was  uttered  in  the 
days  of  ISTehemiah's  influence.  I  do  not  say  in 
the  days  of  N'ehemiah.  I  know  that  it  is  a  re- 
markable thing,  upon  which  comment  has  not 
been  wanting,  that  Malachi's  name  does  not 
appear  either  in  the  book  of  Ezra  or  ISTehemiah. 
It  seems  most  probable  that  Malachi's  name  is 
not  mentioned  because  he  follows  immediately 
after  Nehemiah.  The  people  have  fallen  back 
into  the  very  abuses  that  Nehemiah  set  him- 

:21  "  Wherein  ?  " 

self  to  rectify,  and  Malachi  is  raised  up,  the 
last  of  the  prophets,  to  bear  this  message  to 

ISTothing  whatever  is  known  of  the  nation- 
ality or  parentage  of  Malachi.  The  name 
itself  is  a  significant  one,  and  there  have  been 
those  who  have  read  the  name  simply  as  a 
title — "My  messenger."  Others  say  that 
Malachi  was  an  incarnation  of  an  angelic 
messenger.  I  do  not  accept  either  of  these 
theories.  I  believe  the  man's  name  was  Mala- 
chi. The  Septuagint  gives  it  as  Malachius, 
and  so  most  likely  Malachi  is  an  abbreviated 
form  of  Malachia.  It  means  "  the  messenger  of 
Jehovah,"  but  if,  because  it  has  that  peculiar 
meaning,  we  argue  it  is  merely  a  title,  let  it  be 
remembered,  Joel  means  "  the  Lord  Jehovah." 

But  while  that  is  so,  it  is  noticeable  that  he 
was  exceedingly  careful  to  speak  of  himself 
only  as  "  a  bearer  of  the  burden  of  the  word 
of  God."  He  says  nothing  of  himself.  You 
cannot  read  this  prophecy  without  seeing  how 
he  has  excluded  himself  from  it.  You  read 
Amos,  and  right  through,  you  discover  his 
calling  in  the  figures  he  uses.  The  man  lives 
in  it,  very  beautifully,  but  in  this  case  the 
Lord's  messenger  is  absolutely  hidden  behind 
the  message  he  comes  to  bring.  There  is  noth- 
ing from  which  we  can  gather  his  past  history 
or    trace   anything   concerning    him.     He    is 

Introductory  23 

simply  Malaclii,  the  messenger,  he  comes  to 
bear  the  message,  and  the  burden  of  the  word 
of  the  Lord  is  so  upon  him,  and  so  consumes 
him,  that  we  never  hear  a  whisper  of  his  own 
personality,  or  catch  the  faintest  glimpse  of 

The  peculiar  need  of  the  age  in  which  he 
spoke  and  wrote  Avas  a  distinct  and  direct 
message,  and  it  was  that  distinct  and  direct 
message  from  God  that  he  came  to  pronounce. 
In  that  fact  I  find  one  of  the  strongest  argu- 
ments for  the  application  of  that  message  to 
this  age.  We  need  more  than  anything  else 
to-day,  that  our  preachers  should  be  messen- 
gers of  God,  that  the  people  should  be  spoken 
to,  as  out  of  the  divine  oracles ;  not  that  the 
preacher  is  to  be  an  oracle,  for  that  would  be 
a  return  to  the  worst  form  of  priestism,  but 
that  he  is  to  be  a  messenger,  and  that  even  the 
fact  of  his  being  a  messenger  is  to  be  lost 
sight  of  in  the  enormous  weight  of  the  mes- 
sage he  comes  to  proclaim. 

Standing  upon  these  rock  foundations,  we 
come  to  the  consideration  of  truths  that  are 
fresh  as  the  Spring ;  new,  as  God  is  new,  and 
not  simply  to  delve  among  parchments  and 
musty  history. 





We  come  now  to  the  consideration  of  the 
condition  of  the  people  at  the  time  when 
Malachi  uttered  his  prophecy.  There  is  a  key- 
word in  the  book  revealing  this  condition,  a 
word  these  people  used  in  reply  to  every  mes- 
sage which  the  prophet  delivered  to  them, 
showing  what  their  real  attitude  was.  It  is 
the  word  "Wherein."  Let  us  consider  the 
seven  occasions  of  its  use  : — • 

(1)  Chap,  i.,  ver.  2. — "I   have  loved  you, 

saith  the  Lord.  Yet  ye  say.  Wherein 
hast  Thou  loved  us  ?  " 

(2)  Chap,  i.,  ver.  6. — "A  son  honoreth  his 

father,  and  a  servant  his  master :  if  then 
I  be  a  Father,  where  is  Mine  honor  ?  and 
if  I  be  a  Master,  where  is  My  fear? 
saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts  unto  you,  O 
priests,  that  despise  My  name.  And  ye 
say.  Wherein  have  we  despised  Thy 
name  ?  " 

(3)  Chap,    i.,   ver.    7. — "Ye    offer    polluted 

bread  upon  Mine  altar.     And  ye  say, 
Wherein  have  we  polluted  Thee  ?  " 

28  "  Wherein  ?  " 

(4)  Chap,  ii.,  ver.  17. — "  Ye  have  wearied  the 

Lord  with  your  Avords.  Yet  ye  say, 
Wherein  have  we  wearied  Him  ?  " 

(5)  Chap,  iii.,  ver.  7. — "  Eeturn  unto  Me,  and 

I  will  return  unto  3^ou,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts.  But  ye  said,  WJierein  shall  Ave 
return  ? " 

(6)  Chap,  iii.,  ver.  8.—"  Will  a  man  rob  God  ? 

Yet  ye  have  robbed  Me.  But  ye  say. 
Where  m  haA^e  Ave  robbed  Thee  ?  " 

(7)  Chap,  iii.,  ver.  13. — "  Your  Avords  haA^e 

been  stout  against  Me,  saith  the  Lord, 
Yet  ye  say,  Wherein  have  we  spoken  so 
much  against  Thee  ?  " 
You  notice  in  this  last  instance  the  author- 
ized version  gives  the  Avord  "  AVhat,"  which  is 
a  peculiar  accident  of  translation.  It  is  the 
same  AVord  in  the  Hebrew,  and  ought  to  have 
been  translated  "Wherein,"  as  in  the  other 

Thus  Ave  have  this  Avord,  "  Wherein,"  put  by 
the  prophet  into  the  mouth  of  those  people 
seA^en  distinct  times,  Avith  reference  to  seven 
distinct  announcements.  He  comes  to  them 
first  of  all  Avith  the  declaration :  "  I  haA^e 
loved  you,  saith  the  Lord,"  and  they  say, 
"  Wherein  hast  Thou  loved  us?"  Then  he 
says,  "  Ye  have  despised  the  Lord,"  and  they 
say,  -"  Wherein  have  Ave  despised  Him  ?  "  And 
then :     "Ye  have  polluted  My  altar,"  and  they 

The  Spirit  of  the  Age  29 

say,  "  W/ierein  have  we  polhited  Thine  altar  ?" 
And  then  :  "  Ye  have  wearied  Me,"  and  they 
say,  "  W/ierem  have  we  wearied  Thee  ?  "  And 
then:  "Return  to  Me,"  and  they  say, 
"  Wherein  shall  we  return  ?  "  And  then : 
"  Ye  have  robbed  Me,"  and  they  say,  "  Wherein 
have  we  robbed  Thee  ?  "  And  lastly  :  "  Ye 
have  spoken  against  Me,"  and  they  say, 
"  Wherein  have  we  spoken  against  Thee  ?  " 

This  word  shows  us  the  condition  of  these 
people  in  a  lurid  light.  The  temple  is  rebuilt, 
the  altar  is  set  up,  the  sacrifices  are  offered,  the 
feasts  and  fasts  are  alike  observed,  and  to  these 
people — with  outward  form  and  ritual,  perfect 
to  the  very  last  and  minutest  detail — the 
prophecy  comes,  the  Divine  complaint  is  made. 
And  they  look  at  the  prophet  with  mingled 
astonishment  and  incredulity,  and  they  say, 
"  Wherein  ?  AYhat  do  you  mean  ?  You  charge 
us  with  having  despised  God  and  polluted  His 
altar,  with  having  wearied  Him,  and  Avith  wan- 
dering from  and  refusing  to  return  to  Him,  and 
accuse  us  of  robbing  and  speaking  against 
Him ;  we  don't  see  that  we  have  done  these 
things,  so  why  should  we  be  subjected  to  these 
accusations  ?  You  come  and  say  we  despise 
God's  work.  Look  at  our  sacrifices  and  offer- 
ings !  You  tell  us  that  we  have  polluted  the 
altar.  We  have  brought  our  gifts  !  You  tell 
us  that  we  have  wearied  Him.     We  don't  see 

30  Wherein?" 

Avhere  or  when !  We  are  not  conscious  of  hav- 
ing done  anything  to  displease  Him  !  You  tell 
us  to  return.  A¥e  don't  see  where  we  are  to 
return  from ;  we  don't  see  where  we  are  to  re- 
turn to !  You  tell  us  we  have  robbed  God. 
We  want  to  know  when  ?  You  say  we  have 
spoken  against  God.  We  don't  remember 
having  spoken  against  Ilim ;  when  was  it  ?  " 

What  is  the  significance  of  this  Avord 
"  Wherein  ?  "  These  people  are  not  in  open 
rebellion  against  God,  nor  do  they  deny  His 
right  to  offerings,  but  they  are  laboring  under 
the  delusion,  that  because  they  have  brought 
offerings,  they  have  been  true  to  Him  all  along. 
Theirs  is  not  the  language  of  a  people  throw- 
ing off  a  yoke  and  saying,  "  We  will  not  be 
loyal,"  but  of  a  people  established  in  the  tem- 
ple. It  is  not  the  language  of  a  people  who 
say,  "  Let  us  cease  to  sacrifice,  and  worship ; 
and  let  us  do  as  we  please  " ;  but  it  is  the  lan- 
guage of  a  people  who  say,  "  We  are  sacrificing 
and  worshipping  to  please  God,"  and  yet  He 
says,  by  the  mouth  of  His  servant,  "  Ye  have 
wearied  Me :  ye  have  robbed  and  spoken 
against  Me." 

They  have  been  most  particular  and  strict 
in  outward  observances,  but  their  hearts  have 
been  far  away  from  their  ceremonials.  They 
have  been  boasting  themselves  in  their  knoAvl- 
edge  of  truth,  responding  to  that  knowledge 

The  Spirit  of  the  Age  31 

mechaniccillj,  technically;  but  their  hearts, 
their  lives,  their  characters,  the  inwardness  of 
their  natures,  have  been  a  perpetual  contra- 
diction in  the  eye  of  Heaven,  to  the  will  of 
God ;  and,  when  the  prophet  tells  them  what 
God  thinks  of  them,  they,  with  astonishment 
and  impertinence,  look  into  his  face  and  say, 
"  We  don't  see  this  at  all  I "  To  translate  it 
into  the  language  of  the  ISTew  Testament — 
"  having  the  form  of  godliness,  they  deny  the 
power."  They  have  passed  into  the  fearful 
condition  of  imagining  that  what  God  asks  for 
is  but  the  letter,  and  they  are  failing  to  under- 
stand that  the  letter  is,  at  best,  but  an  awk- 
ward representation  of  what  God  is  demand- 
ing  in  the  spirit.  v- 

I  say  "  awkward,"  simply  because  the  letter 
never  can  convey  all  the  spiritual  meanings. 
When  a  man  is  willing  to  obey  the  letter  with 
spiritual  intent,  then  God  has  more  to  say  than 
the  letter  can  contain.  These  people  have 
come  simply  to  bear  a  literal  yoke.  They  are 
the  most  orthodox  people,  and  yet  their  whole 
heart  is  outside  the  matter,  and  the  facts  of 
their  lives  are  hidden,  alas !  from  themselves, 
so  subtle  and  awful  in  the  influence  of  getting 
away  from  direct  and  close  dealing  with  God. 
I  say  these  facts  are  hidden  from  their  own 
eyes.  They  are  not  conscious  of  it,  but  God  is 
changed    to    their   conception.     The   God   of 

32  "Wherein?" 

their  fathers  is  not  their  God.  The  God  of 
spiritual  communion  with  His  people,  who 
walked  and  talked  with  the  patriarchs,  is  not 
their  God.  The  god  of  Israel  in  the  days  of 
Malachi,  the  god  whom  they  had  invented, 
and  were  trying  to  appease  and  Avorship,  was 
the  god  of  trivialities,  of  mechanical  observ- 
ances, the  god  who  asks  for  a  temple  with  a 
set  number  of  stones  and  corners,  the  altar  of 
such  a  shape,  and  so  many  sacrifices  and 
prayers,  without  any  reference  to  character. 
When  the  prophet  came  to  these  people,  he 
came  to  a  people  who  were  feeling  thoroughly 
satisfied  with  their  religious  observances,  and 
were  prepared  to  say,  "  Wherein  have  we  done 
this,  or  failed  to  do  that  ?  " 


Now  let  us  go  further  to  discover  the  reason 
of  their  condition.  The  second  chapter  begins 
with  these  words :  "  And  now,  O  ye  priests, 
this  commandment  is  for  you ; "  and  the  sev- 
enth verse  reads  :  "  For  the  priest's  lips  should 
keep  knowledge,  and  they  should  seek  the  law 
at  his  mouth :  for  he  is  the  messenger  of  the 
Lord  of  Hosts."  That  is  the  Divine  concep- 
tion of  the  priesthood.  The  priest  should  not 
only  have  the  knowledge,  but  should  keep  it, 
that  is,  walk  in  it,  be  obedient  to  it,  be  the 
embodiment   of   the   knowledge   he  holds,  of 

The  Spirit  of  the  Age  33 

which  he  is  the  depositary  for  the  time  being. 
The  people  "  should  seek  the  law  at  his  mouth," 
for  he  is  the  messenger  of  the  Lord  of  Hosts. 
More,  he  is  to  tell  them  the  will  of  God,  and 
that  not  simply  as  one  who  possesses  it  as  a 
wonderful  theory,  but  as  one  who  is  himself 
living  within  the  realm  thereof. 

That  is  the  ideal.  What  then  has  the 
prophet  to  say  to  the  priests  ?  (ii.  8) :  "  Ye  are 
departed  out  of  the  way ;  ye  have  caused 
many  to  stumble  at  the  law;  ye  have  cor- 
rupted the  covenant  of  Levi,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts."  I  l^^ow  all  this  teaches  us,  that  at  the 
back  of  the  declension  of  the  people  is  the  de- 
clension and  corruption  of  the  priest ;  that  the 
people  failed  to  have  a  right  conception  of 
God,  because  the  priest  ceased  to  give  them 
the  true  conception.  The  whole  company  of 
the  people  have  passed  out  of  the  high  spir- 
itual realm  of  past  history,  because  the  priest 
has  tampered  with — corrupted  as  the  word  is 
here — the  very  covenant  of  God. 

In  reading  Nehemiah  in  connection  with 
Malachi,  you  will  have  noticed  something  to 
which  I  shall  ask  you  to  refer  for  a  moment. 
Nehemiah  xiii.  28,  29  :  "  And  one  of  the  sons 
of  Joiada,  the  son  of  Eliashib,  the  high  priest, 
was  son-in-law  to  Sanballat  the  Horonite: 
therefore  I  chased  him  from  me.  Kemember 
them,  O  my  God,  because  they  have  defiled 

34  "  Wherein  ?  " 

the  priesthood,  and  the  covenant  of  the  priest- 
hood and  of  the  Levites."  There  you  have  an 
example,  a  historic  statement  of  this  very 
thing,  the  case  of  a  priest  marrying  the  daugh- 
ter of  Sanballat  the  Horonite. 

Eead  the  history  of  l^Tehemiah  and  see  how 
much  Sanballat  was,  or  was  not,  in  accord 
with  the  purpose  of  God.  Sanballat  was  the 
embodiment  of  the  spirit  that  was  antagonistic 
to  the  Word  and  Spirit  of  God.  One  of  the 
priests  of  God  has  married  his  daughter,  and 
Nehemiah  says  with  that  magnificent  vehe- 
mence which  characterized  all  his  splendid 
work :  "  I  chased  him  from  me."  Why  did 
you  do  it,  J^ehemiah?  Why  did  you  chase 
him  away?  "Because  he  had  defiled  the 
priesthood,  by  defiling  the  covenant  of  the 
priesthood  and  the  Levites."  The  same  word 
occurs  in  Malachi :  "Ye  are  departed  out  of 
the  Avay ;  ye  have  caused  many  to  stumble  at 
the  law;  ye  have  corrupted  the  covenant  of 
Levi,  saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts."  The  priesthood, 
instead  of  keeping  the  law,  had  "  departed  out 
of  the  way."  The  priests  had  announced  the 
law,  they  had  read  its  articles,  they  had  pro- 
claimed it  as  law,  and  then  had  debased  it 
themselves.  Corruption  had  come  into  the 
covenant  by  the  way  of  the  priesthood. 

What  was  the  priesthood  for?  The  only 
reason  for  its  existence  was  that  there  should 

The  Spirit  of  the  Age  35 

be  on  the  human  side  a  guarding  of  the  ar- 
ticles of  the  covenant  of  God,  and  no  man  who 
himself  corrupts,  tampers  with,  breaks  the 
covenant,  can  for  a  single  moment,  by  his 
teaching,  uphold  it ;  and  the  trouble  at  the 
back  of  the  national  declension  was  the  de- 
clension of  the  priesthood.  The  teachers  of 
the  people,  the  messengers  of  God,  had  them- 
selves done  despite  to  the  law  of  God,  by  pro- 
claiming it  as  fact,  and  denying  it  in  their  own 

This  then  was  the  spirit  of  the  age.  For- 
malism, ritual,  ceremonial — everything  so  far 
as  mechanical  and  outAvard  observance — com- 
plete. A  Divine  messenger  came  voicing  the 
complaint  of  God,  and  the  people  in  astonish- 
ment and  anger,  and  with  marked  imperti- 
nence, looked  into  the  very  face  of  high  heaven 
and  said,  "We  don't  see  this  thing  at  all — 
Wherein?"  And  all  this  because  God's  ap- 
pointed messengers  have  themselves,  in  life, 
and  work,  and  conversation  corrupted  the  cov- 
enant, and  have  passed  into  the  region  of 
baseness  and  contempt  in  the  eyes  of  the 


There  is,  I  fear,  an  awful  sense  in  which 
that  picture  is  a  picture  of  the  age  in  which 
we  live.     Never  was  there  a  day  when  organ- 

36  "  Wherein  ?  " 

izations  were  more  complete,  and  outward 
and  mechanical  forms  of  service  more  numer- 
ous than  they  are  now,  but  I  am  not  going  to 
dwell  merely  upon  ritual. 

I  have  made  reference  to  a  verse  Avith  which 
you  are  all  familiar — 2  Timothy  iii.  1-4 : 
"  This  know  also,  that  in  the  last  daj^s  perilous 
times  shall  come.  For  men  shall  be  lovers  of 
their  ownselves,  covetous,  boasters,  proud, 
blasphemers,  disobedient  to  parents,  unthank- 
ful, unholy.  Without  natural  affection,  truce- 
breakers,  false  accusers,  incontinent,  fierce, 
despisers  of  those  that  are  good.  Traitors, 
heady,  high-minded,  lovers  of  pleasures  more 
than  lovers  of  God."  I  ask  you  very  solemnly 
to  read  that  description  and  apply  it  to  the 
age  in  which  we  live. 

Take  the  next  verse,  five,  for  it  is  that  to  which 
I  wish  to  come :  "  Having  a  form  of  godliness, 
but  denying  the  power  thereof."  Will  you — 
bearing  that  verse  in  mind — turn  to  Paul's 
letter  to  the  Eomans  (second  chaj^ter  and  the 
twentieth  verse),  and  very  patiently  follow  the 
thought  ?  You  must  go  back  for  a  moment  to  the 
seventeenth  verse  in  order  to  catch  the  meaning 
of  his  words  :  "  Thou  art  called  a  Jew — an  in- 
structor of  the  foolish,  a  teacher  of  babes, 
which  hast  Xh^forin  of  knowledge  and  of  the 
truth  in  the  law."  I  have  read  that  passage  in 
order  that  we   may   bring   these   tAVo  words 

The  Spirit  of  the  Age  37 

together.  In  the  twentieth  verse  of  the  second 
chapter  of  Komans  and  in  the  fifth  verse  of 
the  third  chapter  of  second  Timothy  you  have 
the  same  word  "  form."  These  are  the  only 
two  occasions  where  that  actual  word  occurs 
in  the  whole  of  the  l^ew  Testament.  Of 
course,  you  get  the  word  "  form "  translated 
from  other  words,  but  this  word  is  iwpil^wcn':, 
and  it  means  "  formation  "  rather  than  "  form." 
It  refers  to  the  possibility  of  a  process  rather 
than  to  a  thing  accomplished.  When  Paul 
said  to  Timothy  that  in  these  last  days  perilous 
times  should  come,  that  men  would  have  the 
form  of  godliness  and  yet  deny  the  power 
he  marked  a  danger  more  subtle  than  that  of 
ritualism.  It  means  that  in  the  last  days  men 
will  actually  come  to  possess  the  truth  itself 
which  is  the  formative  power  of  godliness,  and 
yet  will  deny  the  power.  A  man  may  have 
the  very  formation  of  godliness,  he  may  hold 
the  truth,  he  may  be  the  most  orthodox  man 
in  the  whole  city,  and  yet  deny  the  power. 

That  is  one  of  the  dangers  of  the  present 
day.  Take  Christendom  at  large.  You  have 
thousands  of  people  who  can  give  you  good 
reasons  for  belonging  to  the  Church,  who  have 
some  purity  in  their  lives  responding  to  the 
claims  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  seem  to  be  not  only 
maintaining  the  outward  forms,  but  appear 
also  to  hold  tenaciously  to  the  truth  Avhich  is 

38  "  Wherein  ?  " 

the  formative  power  of  the  Church,  and  yet 
whose  lives  are  not  in  correspondence  to  the 
truth  they  hold. 

In  this  sense  there  is  an  element  of  danger 
in  our  great  conventions.  Do  not  misunder- 
stand me.  I  am  not  undervaluing  them.  I 
thank  God  for  the  blessed  work  being  accom- 
plished through  them,  but  there  are  men  and 
women  who  are  able  to  enunciate  the  whole 
scheme,  not  only  of  regeneration  but  also  of 
sanctification,  and  yet  in  their  actual  life, — 
when  lifted  away  from  the  crowd  of  their  fel- 
low Christians,  and  from  the  opinion  of  their 
fellow  men,  into  the  white  light  of  Divine  re- 
quirement, which  alone  reveals  character, — it 
can  be  said  of  them  "denying  the  power." 

Tell  such  men  it  is  not  a  new  extension 
scheme,  not  a  discussion  of  this  constitution  or 
that,  we  need,  but  a  red-hot  fire  purging  out 
the  dross,  and  they  say  "  Wherein  ?  Have  we 
not  all  these  things?  Do  we  not  hold  the 
truth  ?    Are  we  not  orthodox  ? — Wherein  ?  " 

What  is  at  the  back  of  all  this  ?  As  in  the 
old  days,  so  now,  there  bas  been  a  corrupting 
of  the  priesthood,  there  has  been  a  corrupting 
of  the  covenant  by  the  teachers,  who  ought  to 
have  led  us  into  the  deep  things  of  God. 

What  is  God's  covenant  ?  If  you  read  the 
eighth  chapter  of  Hebrews  in  connection  with 
the  thirty-first  chapter  of  Jeremiah,  beginning 

The  Spirit  of  the  Age  39 

with  the  thirty-first  verse  and  reading  on,  you 
will  find  that  the  covenant  of  God  with  His 
people,  for  this  dispensation,  is  in  advance  of 
the  old  covenant.  That  was  a  covenant  in 
which  God  was  married  to  His  people,  and 
they  were  to  be  kept  by  outward  laws,  words 
written  upon  tables  of  stone,  commandments 
uttered  in  their  hearing,  and  the  marriage  re- 
lationship was  to  be  maintained  between  the 
chosen  people  and  God,  in  that  covenant,  by 
obedience  to  those  laws. 

What  is  the  new  covenant  ?  The  new  cove- 
nant is,  "I  will  write  my  law  upon  your  heart 
and  upon  your  mind,"  and  the  relation  of  peo- 
ple in  the  new  covenant  to  God  is  to  be  the 
relation  of  a  new  birth,  of  an  actual  affinity, 
of  a  marvellous  identification.  I  am  no  longer 
married  to  God  in  the  sense  of  maintaining  the 
relation  by  obedience  to  an  outward  rule  of 
life,  but  in  the  union  of  a  child  of  God,  born 
again  in  His  Spirit ;  with  His  law,  not  given 
to  me  from  the  outside,  but  written  on  my 
mind  and  on  my  heart. 

Is  that  covenant  corrupted,  nay,  is  not  Chris- 
tendom corrupted  from  end  to  end  ?  If  a  man 
begin  to  talk  about  iuAvard  cleansing,  about 
the  necessity  for  the  fire-blood  cleansing  of 
the  nature,  before  men  can  live  in  communion 
with  God,  how  many  there  are  who  say  at 
once,  "  We  are  talking  of  things  that  are  im- 

40  "  Wherein  ?  '* 

possible.^'  So  long  as  we  who  teach  corrupt 
the  covenant  by  going  back  to  Judaism,  by 
lowering  the  high  and  awful  requirement  of 
actual  new  birth  and  spiritual  affinity,  just  so 
long  will  the  people  be  content  with  holding 
a  form  of  truth  and  denying  the  power„ 

There  is  then  an  awful  application  of  Mala- 
chi's  daj^s  and  the  spirit  of  his  age  to  this  age 
and  to  these  days.  There  was  a  lowering  of 
the  standard  of  the  Divine  requirement  by  the 
priest — using  that  word  in  the  Divine  sense  of 
the  messenger  of  God — and  the  people  boast- 
ing too  often  in  their  correct  theory  of  worship, 
super-orthodox,  were  yet,  in  their  inner  life,  in 
the  depth  of  their  own  nature,  in  the  actual 
fact  of  what  God  alone  knows,  "  denying  the 

Let  us  go  alone  into  His  presence,  for  that 
is  light,  and  fire,  and  life,  and  ceasing  to  be 
content  with  conventional  religion  let  each 
one  for  himself  and  herself,  in  that  awful 
Presence  say,  "O  God,  save  me  from  mere 
correctness  of  view,  and  that  curiosity  to 
know,  for  the  sake  of  knowing  only,  which 
has  blighted  my  life,  and  make  me  what  Thou 
wouldst  have  me  to  be  in  actual  character." 





Against  this  people — formal  and  self-satis- 
fied— God,  by  the  mouth  of  His  messenger, 
uttered  seven  complaints  which  may  thus  be 
summarized :  Profanity,  Sacrilege,  Greed, 
Weariness  in  service.  Honoring  of  vice — or 
Treason  against  the  covenant  of  Heaven — ■ 
Kobbery  from  God,  and  Blasphemy  against 
Him.  To  these  complaints  they  responded 
with  the  question  "  Wherein  ?  "  There  is  a 
profanity  far  worse  than  that  of  the  slum ;  a 
sacrilege  far  more  terrible  than  the  act  of 
breaking  into  the  sacred  place  and  purloining 
the  vessels  of  the  sanctuary  ;  a  greed  which  is 
more  atrocious  than  the  greed  of  a  man  who 
professes  no  godliness,  but  openly  worships 
Mammon ;  a  weariness  in  service  which  even 
exceeds  in  wickedness  an  entire  abstention 
from  service  ;  a  form  of  treason  by  the  honor- 
ing of  vice,  which  is  more  awful  than  outward 
and  open  plotting — however  diabolic  it  may 
be — to  dethrone  God ;  a  kind  of  robbery 
which  is  more  terrible  than  the  actual  abstrac- 
tion of  coins  from  the  treasury  of  the  Most 
High ;  a  kind  of  blasphemy  that  in  compari- 



"  Wherein '? 

son   makes   the   revolting   blasphemy   of   the 
streets  seem  almost  insi^i^nificant  and  obtuse. 


In  proceeding  to  consider  the  first — Profan- 
ity, turn  to  the  first  chapter  of  the  prophecy, 
and  read  the  sixth  and  seventh  verses:  "A 
son  honoreth  his  father,  and  a  servant  his 
master :  if  then  I  be  a  Father,  where  is  Mine 
honor  ?  and  if  I  be  a  Master,  where  is  My 
fear  ?  "  N"ow  pass  to  the  seventh  verse :  "  Ye 
offer  polluted  bread  upon  Mine  altar  " — and 
the  last  sentence  of  the  verse — "  in  that,"  that 
is  to  say,  in  the  offering  of  the  polluted  bread, 
"  in  that  ye  say,  the  table  of  the  Lord  is  con- 

Here  we  find  the  people  calling  God, 
"Father,"  and  yet  giving  Him  no  honor; 
calling  Him  "  Master,"  and  having  no  fear  of 
Him ;  saying  the  table  is  contemptible  by 
placing  upon  that  table  polluted  bread ;  and 
yet  they  say  "  Wherein  ? "  that  is,  they  are 
perfectly  satisfied  that  God  is  their  Father, 
they  are  perfectly  orthodox  in  that  matter, 
they  will  not  for  a  moment  dispute  Avith  any 
one  the  fact  that  God  is  their  Master,  but  fight 
for  the  position  when  any  one  dares  to  trav- 
erse it.  Yet  God  comes  and  says  :  "  Ye  call 
Me  Father,  and  ye  call  Me  Master :  where  is 
My  honor,  and  where  is  My  fear  ?  " 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  45 

They  bring  their  bread  to  the  altar,  and,  I 
think  that  if  you  had  had  the  opportunity  of 
examining  it,  you  would  not  have  found  it 
polluted  in  the  ordinary,  literal  sense  of  the 
word.  With  a  surprised  inflection  in  your 
voice  you  would  have  said,  "  That  bread  is  not 
polluted  ! "  Yet  it  was  polluted,  by  the  hands 
of  the  very  men  who  placed  it  there.  What 
is  profanity  ?  The  root  meaning  of  the  word 
is  "^way  from  the  temple"  (2>r^3  from; 
famom,  temple),  and  it  has  come  to  be  used 
vvith  reference  to  things  not  sacred,  but  com- 

These  people  were  guilty  of  profanity  in  the 
worst  possible  way,  in  that  they  took  the 
names  of  God,  and  claimed  tlie  relationship 
that  those  names  imply  :  Father,  "  honor  "  ; 
Master,  "  fear "  ;  and  yet  they  did  not  fear 
Ilim;  they  accorded  Ilim  no  honor  save  in 
their  words,  and  their  creeds,  and  their  out- 
Avard  doings.  Thus  they  degraded  the  sacred 
things  of  God  to  the  common  level  of  medioc- 
rity, and  in  effect  made  the  statement,  "  The 
table  is  contemptible." 

No  polluted  man  can  offer  pure  bread  upon 
God's  altar  ;  in  taking  or  rejecting  gifts  He 
measures  them  by  the  character  of  the  man 
wdio  brings  them.  Let  us  take  an  illustration. 
It  has  often  been  asked  wdiy  Abel's  gift  was 
accepted  and  Cain's  refused.     Sometimes  we 

46  "Wherein?" 

have  been  told  because  Abel  brought  a  lamb 
and  Cain  fruit.  The  true  reason  was  that 
Abel  was  righteous  and  Cain  was  unrighteous. 
Both  of  these  men  brought  of  the  first-fruits  of 
their  OAvn  labor,  and  peculiar  calling  in  life. 
I  know  there  is  another  side  to  the  subject,  and 
one  full  of  interest,  that  the  very  righteous- 
ness of  Abel  had  spoken  to  him  of  his  need  of 
sacrifice,  and  therefore  he  was  prompted  to 
offer  a  lamb ;  but  Cain's  gift  was  refused  be- 
cause Cain  was  refused,  and  Abel's  gift  was 
accepted  because  Abel  was  accepted.  In  this 
case,  men  approached  the  table  and  laid  their 
gifts  upon  it,  saying  "  Father,"  and  "  Master  "  ; 
but  before  they  came  to  that  table  there  had 
been  no  "  honor  "  for  the  "  Father,"  no  "  fear  " 
for  the  "  Master."  They  themselves  were  not 
accepted,  and  their  gifts,  therefore,  were  re- 

Profanity  at  its  worst  is  to  be  found  in  the 
place  of  outward  service,  in  the  very  taber- 
nacles of  the  Most  High.  To-day,  it  is  the 
profanity  of  Christendom.  I  do  not  say  the 
profanity  of  the  Church :  the  Church  and 
Christendom  are  two  things.  Christendom  is 
the  outward  profession  of  Christianity,  which 
has  libelled  Christ,  and  driven  the  mass  of  the 
people  away  from  our  services  and  our  ordi- 
nances. There  is  no  profanity  which  is  so 
awful    as    that   of  orthodox  expression  and 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  47 

heterodox  heart.  Gifts  presented  to  God  by 
hands  that  are  impure,  are  themselves  impure, 
for  God  only  receives  the  gift  according  as  He 
has  received  the  giver.  The  offering  that  we 
bring  to  God  is  the  true  expression  of  the 
value  at  which  we  appraise  the  altar.  If  a 
man  says,  "  I  honor  the  altar  of  God,"  and 
then  puts  upon  it  something  that  his  own  life 
has  contaminated,  his  true  estimate  of  the 
value  of  the  altar  is  not  the  statement  he 
vouchsafes,  but  his  contaminated  gift.  Such 
a  consideration  should  make  us  exceedingly 
careful  how  we  give  to  God,  and  save  us  from 
that  heresy  of  heresies,  of  imagining  that  we 
can  purchase  our  acceptance  by  our  gifts. 
God  receives  or  rejects  all  the  gifts  of  man  in 
proportion  as  He  has  received  or  rejected  the 

If  that  be  a  true  statement,  how  many  gifts 
are  not  received  by  God  which  have  been 
placed  upon  His  altar  ?  And  is  not  this  pro- 
fanity within  Christendom  to-day  more  terri- 
bly profane  and  far-reaching  in  its  evil  influ- 
ence than  all  the  profanity  of  the  slum  ? 


The  second  of  these  complaints  is  to  be 
found  in  the  eighth  verse  of  the  same  chapter : 
"  And  if  ye  offer  the  blind  for  sacrifice,  is  it 
not  evil  ?  and  if  ye  offer  the  lame  and  the 

48  "Wherein?" 

sick,  is  it  not  evil?  offer  it  now  unto  thy 
Governor;  will  he  be  pleased  with  thee,  or 
accept  thy  person  ?  saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts." 
Here  is  a  movement  forward  in  evil,  some- 
thing beyond  profanity,  viz,  sacrilege;  the 
sin  which  grows  out  of  profanity,  as  surely  as 
the  sin  of  profanity  is  committed.  These  men 
are  now  absolutely  offering  to  God  the  blind, 
and  the  lame,  and  the  sick.  The  Divine  re- 
quirement under  the  Mosaic  economy  was  that 
"the  lamb  placed  upon  the  altar  should  be 
without  spot  or  blemish — the  finest  of  the 
flock,"  but  these  men  have  lost  the  sense  of 
what  worship  means,  in  that  they  have  re- 
tained the  finest  of  the  flock  for  themselves, 
and  brought  to  the  altar  that  which  engen- 
ders its  contempt,  simply  to  keep  up  the 
form  of  sacrifice  and  the  appearance  which 
they  so  much  covet.  God  calls  them  to  ac- 
count for  this  display  of  meanness,  and  He 
says — mark  the  poignant  sarcasm  of  the 
prophet's  words — "  offer  it  to  your  Governor, 
the  man  who  rules  over  you,  the  kind  of  offer- 
ing you  are  j)iitting  upon  Mine  altar — will  he 
accept  it  ?  " 

Why  this  complaint  ?  Because  the  offerings 
put  upon  the  altar  were  valueless  to  the  men 
who  placed  them  there,  and  God  always  val- 
ues the  offering  by  what  it  cost  the  man  who 
brings  it,  and  never  by  its  intrinsic  worth. 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  49 

Have  we  learned  that  lesson  even  to-day ;  a 
lesson  which  the  Master  emphasized  when  He 
sat  and  watched  the  people  of  His  own  time — 
the  direct  descendants  of  these  men  of  Mala- 
chi — putting  their  oif erings  into  the  treasury  ? 
He  did  not  measure  a  single  gift,  intrinsically ; 
but  by  its  cost  to  the  soul  who  offered  it.  The 
rich  men  gave  of  their  abundance.  He  saw 
every  gift,  recognized  its  worth,  was  cognizant 
of  its  marketable  value,  in  every  case.  Pres- 
ently there  came  along  a  woman  who  was  a 
widow,  and  she  dropped  in  two  mites.  Listen 
to  the  Master  of  the  treasury, — the  One  to 
whom  the  gifts  are  brought.  What  did  He 
say  ?  "  That  woman  has  done  well "  ?  He 
said  something  far  more  sweeping  than  that. 
Did  He  say,  "  She  has  cast  in  more  than  any 
man"?  :N'o!  hui  " More  than  tJiei/ all ^  In 
effect.  He  said,  "  Bring  all  the  gifts  that  have 
fallen  into  the  treasury  to-day,  and  put  them 
together,  and  these  mites  outweigh  them  all  in 
the  balances  of  God." 

He  measured  the  gift  then,  as  ever,  by  its 
cost  to  the  giver.  The  men  who  had  put  into 
the  treasury  out  of  their  abundance  did  not 
forego  any  luxury  when  they  reached  home. 
There  was  no  self-denial  in  their  giving,  and 
each  might  have  said,  as  men  often  say  to-day, 
"  I  do  not  miss  what  I  give."  To  such,  let  me 
say,  God  does  not  thank  you  for  your  gift. 

50  "Wherein?" 

The  widow  sadly  missed  her  two  mites.  They 
meant  a  meal,  and  the  only  meal  in  view,  and 
because  her  gift  was  sacrificial,  God  accepted 
and  prized  it  infinitely  more  than  any  other. 
What  does  sacrifice  reveal  ?  JSTot  a  selfish 
seeking  for  favor,  but  a  soul's  estimate  of  the 
One  to  whom  the  gift  is  offered. 

Sacrilege  we  have  ahvays  thought  was  the 
breaking  into  a  church  and  stealing  there- 
from. That  is  not  so  ;  it  is  going  into  Church 
and  putting  something  on  the  ^late.  Do  not 
forget  that.  Sacrilege  is  centered  in  offering 
God  something  which  costs  nothing,  because 
you  think  God  is  worth  nothing.  God  looks 
for  the  giving  at  His  altar  of  a  gift  that  costs 

Men  are  perpetually  bringing  into  the  Chris- 
tian Church  the  things  they  do  not  need  them- 
selves. I  know  there  is  much  sacrificial  giv- 
ing, thank  God,  but  there  is  also  an  enormous 
amount  of  sacrilegious  giving  abroad  in  the 
world  to-day,  giving  devoid  of  sacrifice.  We 
offer  to  God  in  the  Church,  things  which  we 
would  never  offer  to  our  governors.  This  is 
sacrilege.  If  the  giving  in  the  Church  of  God 
to-day  was  of  the  type  and  the  pattern  of  the 
gift  of  the  widow  to  the  treasury  in  the  days 
long  since  passed  away,  the  work  of  God 
would  never  have  to  go  begging  to  men  and 
women  outside  the  Church. 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  51 


In  the  tenth  verse,  God  asks  the  people: 
"Who  is  there  even  among  you  that  would 
shut  the  doors  for  nought  ?  neither  do  ye  kin- 
dle fire  on  Mine  altar  for  nought."  ^  This  is 
the  most  awful  indictment  of  greed  to  be 
found  in  the  book.  These  people  were  open- 
ing His  doors  and  kindling  fires,  because  they 
anticipated  gain  thereby.  There  was  an  ulte- 
rior motive  in  every  gift  placed  upon  the  altar, 
and  in  every  deed  performed,  and  service  ren- 
dered. The  service  of  God  had  degenerated 
into  the  slavery  of  a  selfish  interest;  men 
"  opened  doors  and  kindled  fires  "  in  order  that 
they  might  secure  a  reward.  This  utterance 
is  in  the  form  of  a  question  and  in  that  form 
only  shall  I  make  any  application  of  it  to  the 
age  in  which  we  live.  "  Who  is  there  among 
you  that  would  shut  the  doors  for  nought  ?  " 
Why  do  we  render  God  service  ? — and  I  am 
going  to  take  the  highest  point  of  view  which 

*  The  majority  of  Modern  Commentators  in  common  with 
the  revised  version  agree  in  translating  the  Hebrew  word 
chinnCim,  "  in  vain."  This  word  occurs  thirty-two  times  in 
the  Old  Testament,  and  out  of  that  number  is  translated  six 
times  "for  nought  "in  the  Authorized.  Five  of  these  the  Re- 
vised retains,  and  only  here  makes  the  alteration.  The  root 
idea  of  the  word  is  "without  a  cause,"  and  so  it  is  translated 
fifteen  times.  I  have  deliberately  followed  the  example  of 
Dr.  Pusey  and  retained  the  older  translation  as  being  more  in 
harmony  with  the  word  in  its  original  meaning,  and  with  the 
general  sjjirit  of  the  context  as  I  understand  it. 

52  "  Wherein  ?  " 

is  also  the  most  solemn — because  we  hope  for 
reward  in  the  future  ?  If  so,  we  are  treacling 
dangerously  near  this  most  awful  manifesta- 
tion of  greed. 

God  wants  men  who  will  render  service  to 
Ilim  for  the  very  love  of  Him,  even  though 
they  never  have  reward.  You  remember 
Job's  great  word  :  "  Though  He  slay  me,  yet 
Avill  I  trust  Him."  How  often  is  that  passage 
erroneously  quoted,  as  though  Job  meant  to 
say,  "  If  He  slay  me,  it  will  be  all  right ;  there 
is  something  beyond  it,  I  shall  not  lose  every- 
thing." That  is  not  the  true  interpretation. 
The  word  "  slay  "  goes  to  the  deepest  fact  of 
his  being,  and  he  intended  to  say,  "  Though  He 
slay  me  " — not  "  Though  He  permit  me  to  be 
slain  by  my  enemies  " — but,  "  Though  I  have 
no  future,  and  never  see  Him  on  His  throne, 
though  He  blot  me  out,  yet  I  trust  Him." 
That  is  magnificent  trust,  and  goes  far  beyond 
the  trust  that  hopes  for  rcAvard. 

Of  course  this  is  much  higher  ground  than 
that  intended  in  Malachi's  days,  but  then  Ave 
are  living  in  a  much  higher  dispensation.  Is 
our  service  Divine  or  human  ?  When  we  give 
the  cup  of  cold  water,  if  we  give  it  for  the 
sake  of  reward  we  do  not  give  it  at  all.  "When 
we  minister  to  men  who  are  sick  and  in  prison, 
if  we  do  it  in  order  that  He  may  give  us  His 
word  in  days  to  come  Ave  do  not  minister  at 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  53 

all.  God  is  asking  for  that  abandonment  of 
man  to  Himself  which  says,  "  We  pour  all  at 
Thy  feet,  and  if  Thou  shouldst  crown  us,  we 
would  rejoice,  but  only  that  a  crown  was  ours 
to  cast  at  the  feet  of  Christ."  When  men 
reach  that  point,  greed  has  gone  out  of  their 
service.  I  make  no  application  of  this  study 
save  in  the  words  of  the  text.     Who  among 




Will  3^ou  now  turn  to  the  thirteenth  verse  of 
the  same  chapter:  "Ye  said  also.  Behold, 
what  a  weariness  is  it !  and  ye  have  snuffed  at 
it."  There  is  a  process  of  degradation  in  the 
lives  of  these  men.  Profanity,  sacrilege,  greed, 
and  then  weariness.  If  a  man  is  seeking  for 
reward  when  he  opens  a  door  and  kindles  a 
fire,  he  will  soon  be  tired  of  the  business,  and 
Avill  say  "  Oh,  what  a  weariness ! "  and  will 
snuff  at  it ;  but  if,  putting  forth  every  effort 
and  exerting  his  whole  energy,  he  seeks  the 
Kingdom  for  its  own  sake,  he  will  never  com- 
plain of  fatigue. 

I  believe  this  is  one  of  the  most  remarkable 
signs  of  the  present  time.  Great  principles  are 
revealed  in  small  things  and  unexpected  ways, 
and  Christendom  is  saying  "  The  thing  is  a 
weariness,"  not  in  actual  words,  but  none  the 
less   certainly.     The   ritualistic   movement   is 



Christendom  saying,  "  God  is  a  weariness," 
and  snuffing  at  His  law.  This  care  concerning 
vestments,  incense,  and  the  like — what  does  it 
mean  ?  That  men  are  tired  of  spiritual  wor- 
ship, and  must  have  the  sensual  side  of  their 
nature  pleased  and  tickled  instead  thereof. 
The  stern  days  of  our  fathers,  when  they 
worshipped  in  barns,  and  sat,  cold  and  cheer- 
less, for  long  hours  in  spirit  conflict  with  God, 
and  spirit  worship  of  God — where  are  they  ? 
Gone,  and  now  we  must  have  everything  that 
is  aesthetic,  and  when  Ave  demand  the  aesthetic, 
Ave  are  saying  of  real  Avorship,  "  What  a  Aveari- 
ness  it  is ! "  and  are  asking  that  things  may  be 
made  pleasant  and  easy  for  us.  Free  Church- 
men are  not  exempt  from  the  same  snare.  All 
the  unhalloAved  and  ungodly  cry  for  short  ser- 
mons is  evidence  that  men  are  saying,  "  What 
a  weariness  it  is  !  "  Scores  of  people  in  our 
churches  to-day,  Avho  Avill  hear  an  opera 
through  and  through — and  not  once  only, — 
Avill  pull  out  their  Avatches  and  become  anxious 
and  fidgety  if  a  preacher  exceeds,  by  a  fcAv 
minutes'  space,  what  is  recognized  as  his  al- 
lotted time. 

It  is  a  serious  matter — a  serious  matter. 
When  men  are  tired  of  hearing  and  meditat- 
ing upon  the  things  of  God,  the  fault  lies 
Avithin ;  in  the  background  there  is  greed,  and 
behind  that  sacrilege,  and  behind  that  again 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  55 

profanity.  Let  us  search  our  hearts,  and  find 
whether  the  things  of  God  have  become  merely 
a  dut}^,  a  weariness,  that  we  would  relinquisli 
if  we  dare,  and  to  which  we  onlj^  hold  for  the 
sake  of  appearances. 

You  will  notice  in  the  seventeenth  verse  of 
the  second  chapter  that  there  is  something 
further  still:  "Ye  have  wearied  the  Lord 
with  your  words.  Yet  ye  say,  Wherein  have 
we  wearied  Him  ?  When  ye  say,  Every  one 
that  doeth  evil  is  good  in  the  sight  of  the 
Lord,  and  He  delighteth  in  them ;  or.  Where 
is  the  God  of  judgment  ? "  What  did  they 
mean  ?  "  Our  God  is  a  God  of  love ;  there  is 
no  judgment.  That  man  you  say  is  evil,  is 
good,  if  you  only  knew  it.  God  delights  in 
him."  That  is  beyond  weariness  and  snuiRng ; 
that  is  treason  of  the  very  worst  form.  That 
is  a  countenancing  and  an  excusing  of  sin. 
That  is  an  attempt  to  gloss  evil  and  treat  it 
lightly,  as  of  no  importance.  When  man  be- 
gins to  excuse  sin,  and  to  say  that  it  does  not 
matter  so  much,  that  God  delights  in  them 
that  do  evil,  that  there  is  no  judgment ;  then 
he  is  committing  high  treason. 

That  again  is  a  peculiar  sin  of  our  own  day. 
Find  me  anywhere  a  people  who  are  weary  of 
a  strong  and  robust  Christianity  and  seek  aes- 

56  "Wherein?'' 

thetic  worship,  and  I  find  you  a  people  whol 
cannot  bear  to  be  told  of  the  judgment  of  God. ' 

What  are  such  people  really  doing  ?  Lower- 
ing the  standard  of  Divine  government,  and 
the  moment  a  man  within  the  Church  is  guilty 
of  that,  he  is  flagrantly  guilty  of  high  treason 
against  God. 

All  this  talk  about  God  being  such  a  God  of 
love  that  He  passes  lightly  over  sin,  is  the  mis- 
understanding of  what  love  is.  Love  is  the 
sworn  foe  of  sin  forever,  and  the  instant  God 
begins  to  excuse  sin,  as  we  are  too  often  rashly 
doing,  He  proves  He  does  not  love  man.  JSTar- 
row  that  down  to  your  own  personality,  or 
rather  let  me  speak  of  mine.  If  God  excuse 
sin  in  me,  and  let  me  go  on,  just  saying,  "Well, 
he  is  frail  and  infirm,  it  does  not  matter,"  God 
Himself  by  such  action  ensures  my  ruin.  It 
is  because  He  is  a  consuming  fire  to  sin,  and 
never  signs  a  truce  with  it  within  the  sphere 
of  His  own  kingdom,  or  in  the  world  any- 
where, that  He  is  a  God  of  love ;  and  directly 
people  begin  to  say,  "Where  is  the  God  of 
judgment  ? "  they  are  guilty  of  high  treason, 
and  I  believe  that  has  been  the  peculiar  sin  of 
many  years. 

The  men  of  our  own  times  whom  God  has 
most  signally  used  have  been  sons  of  fire  as 
well  as  sons  of  consolation.  Who  were  the 
sons  of  consolation?     They  were  Boanerges, 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  57 

the  sons  of  thunder,  and  no  man  is  a  true  son 
of  consolation  unless  he  is  also  a  son  of 

A  man  must  have  a  keen,  clear  vision  of  sin, 
as  an  enormity  of  the  ages  never  to  be  ex- 
cused, if  he  is  to  be  tender  and  compassionate 
toward  the  man  who  is  a  sinner.  That  is  a 
false  conception  of  love  Avhich  imagines  God  is 
not  a  God  of  judgment. 


Again,  in  the  third  chapter  and  the  eighth 
verse,  you  have  the  sixth  complaint,  "  Will  a 
man  rob  God?  Yet  ye  have  robbed  Me." 
What  a  fearful  charge  !  How  had  they  robbed 
Him?  For  they  said,  "Wherein  have  we 
robbed  Thee?"  "In  tithes  and  offerings." 
In  other  words,  there  was  a  certain  Divine 
claim  that  God  made  upon  these  people  ;  there 
was  a  tithe  to  be  given  to  Him,  and  they  had 
responded  to  the  demand.  "  That  is  what  God 
asked,"  you  say ;  "  surely  that  was  right."  Do 
not  make  a  mistake.  People  are  habitually 
telling  us  that  God  demanded  the  tithe.  That 
is  utterly  at  variance  with  the  true  position. 
God  demanded  the  tithe  only  as  a  nniniimim^ 
and  they  had  carelessly  given  Him  what  He 
claimed — the  minimum — in  tithes  and  offerings. 
They  had  robbed  God  in  that  they  had  not  re- 
sponded to  the  Divine  claim  in  the  spirit  in 

58  "  Wherein  ?  " 

which  it  was  made,  but  had  offered  that  which 
was  allowed  by  measurement  and  rule  rather 
than  in  the  spirit  of  love. 

What  is  the  Divine  claim  upon  Christendom 
—or  Christianity,  shall  I  rather  say  ?  God  is 
not  asking  you  for  a  tithe.  Some  give  a  tithe 
of  their  income.  That  may  be  the  correct 
thing ;  but  while  there  are  instances  in  which 
it  is  right,  there  is  a  reverse  side  to  the  picture. 
Some  men  have  no  business  to  give  a  tithe  of 
their  earnings — they  cannot  afford  it ;  and 
there  are  men  who  are  robbing  God  by  giving 
only  a  tithe  of  their  incomes.  I  knew  a  Con- 
gregational Church  some  years  ago  in  which  a 
man  sat  in  one  pew  and  another  man  imme- 
diately behind  him.  The  income  of  the  first 
man  may  roughly  be  estimated  at  £10,000  a 
year,  and  he  and  his  family  gave  two  pounds 
conscientiously  and  regularly  every  week.  He 
gave  an  occasional  £100  and  other  sums,  but 
tAvo  pounds  was  his  regular  weekly  gift.  The 
man  who  sat  behind  him  was  a  laborer,  earn- 
ing eighteen  shillings  a  week,  out  of  whicli  he 
gave  one  shilling.  (We  have  simply  got  down 
to  money  values  because  they  appeal  most 
strongly  to  the  minds  of  men  in  this  age.) 
Which  man  gave  the  most  ?  I  do  not  commit 
any  one  else  to  this ;  but  I  told  the  "man  be- 
hind "  that  he  had  no  right,  with  his  wife  and 
family  of  five  bairns,  to  give  a  whole  shilling 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  59 

out  of  a  weekly  wage  of  eighteen.  God  does 
not  ask  it.  Of  the  man  in  front— well,  his 
offering  was  meanness  embodied  in  compari- 
son. A  tithe  is  all  right  if  it  is  something  you 
feel.  If  it  is  something  which  puts  you  in 
danger  of  being  dishonest,  it  is  wrong ;  and  if 
it  is  out  of  harmony  with  your  own  success  in 
Hfe,  it  is  absolutely  wrong.  I  do  not  believe 
in  insisting  upon  the  tithe.  God's  claim  is  all 
—everything  to  be  His.  Every  coin  used  self- 
ishly is  robbery  in  the  Christian  dispensation ; 
and,  as  I  have  already  said  of  sacrilege,  we 
should  never  be  compelled  to  beg  from  the 
devil  to  carry  on  God's  work,  if  He  were  not 
being  plundered. 


In  the  thirteenth  and  fourteenth  verses  we 
read,  "  Your  words  have  been  stout  against 
Me,  saith  the  Lord.  Yet  ye  say.  Wherein 
(what)  have  we  spoken  so  much  against  Thee  ? 
Ye  have  said.  It  is  vain  to  serve  God ;  and 
what  profit  is  it  that  we  have  kept  His  ordi- 
nance, and  that  we  have  walked  mournfully 
before  the  Lord  of  Hosts  ?  "  :N^ow,  this  is  the 
sin  of  blasphemy.  What  is  blasphemy  ?  The 
word  means  to  speak  injuriously,  to  say  some- 
thing that  shall  injure  the  one  against  whom 
you  have  spoken  it ;  and  men  have  come  to 
use  it  mostly  of  Divine  things.     To  blaspheme 

6o  "  Wherein  ?  '* 

is  to  say  that  which  injures  God,  and  His  cause 
and  His  kingdom.  He  says  to  these  people, 
"Your  words  have  been  stout  against  Me," 
that  is  to  say,  "  You  have  blasphemed  Me 
stoutly  "  ;  and  they  say,  "  Wherein  ?  "  And 
He  goes  on,  "  You  have  said,  It  is  vain  to  serve 
God ;  and  what  profit  is  it  that  we  have  kept 
His  ordinance,  and  that  we  have  walked  'in 
black '  before  the  Lord  ?  What  is  the  profit 
of  all  this  ?  "  Do  you  suppose  any  of  these 
people  have  been  saying  that  in  actual  words  ? 
You  cannot  suppose  it  for  a  moment. 

The  very  worst  form  of  blasphemy  is  the 
misrepresentation  of  God  by  people  who  pro- 
fess to  love  His  name,  and  look  apparently 
with  exuberant  delight  for  the  coming  of  His 
kingdom.  The  man  who  openly  blasphemes, 
and  who,  standing  under  the  sun,  looks  up  at 
the  heavens  and  says,  "  I  hate  God,"  is  far  less 
dangerous  in  the  influence  of  his  life  than  the 
man  who  says  "I  love  God"  and  disobeys 
Him.  The  blasphemy  of  which  to  be  afraid  is 
that  which  joins  with  the  great  congregation 
in  saying,  "  Thy  will  be  done,  Thy  kingdom 
come,"  and  all  the  while  thwarts  the  will  of 
God  and  denies  His  kingshi])  within.  Oh 
brethren,  if  the  Church  believed  in  God's  king- 
dom and  God's  will,  and  if  the  whole  catholic 
Church  of  Jesus  Christ,  on  Sunday  next,  in  the 
power  of  the  Spirit,  breathed  that  prayer  with 

The  Complaints  of  Jehovah  6l 

unquestionable  honesty,  how  the  kingdom 
would  come  on  apace  !  It  is  on  account  of  the 
blasphemy  within  our  own  immediate  circle,  of 
men  and  women  who  pray  the  prayer  and  do 
not  believe  in  the  kingdom,  that  the  thing  is 
hindered,  and  that  the  Church  of  Jesus  Christ 
has  become  an  enervated  dilettante  in  the  coun- 
cils of  kings,  doing  nothing  in  its  corporate 
capacity  to  lift  the  world  to  heaven  and  to 

There  are  souls,  however,  to-day,  forming 
God's  elect  (of  whom  we  shall  speak  before 
finishing  this  series)  whom  God  is  using  to  lay 
His  own  foundations,  and  to  do  His  own  work, 
prior  to  the  coming  of  the  Master  to  His 
Church ;  but  Christendom  as  a  whole  is  at 
fault  and  powerless,  because  Christendom  has 
not  believed  nor  acted  upon  the  teaching  of 
the  Master.  I  know  this  picture  is  appalling ; 
but  if  you  can  find  a  brighter  one  in  your  out- 
look, you  can  do  that  of  which  I  am  absolutely 
incapable.  Do  not,  however,  form  final  esti- 
mates, until  we  have  completed  this  series  of 
studies.  There  is  a  bright  light,  and  one 
which  is  brighter  in  the  Church  than  ever  it 
has  been  in  the  past  decades. 





"  The  burden  of  the  word  of  the  Lord  to 
Israel  by  Malachi — I  have  loved  you,  saith  the 
Lord  "  (i.  1,  2).  That  is  the  all-comprehensive 
word  which  Malachi  was  sent  to  proclaim. 
The  love  of  God  !  That  is  the  burden.  Every 
Avord  addressed  to  them  concerning  the  details 
and  conditions  of  their  life  springs  out  of  that. 
In  chapter  iii.  verses  10-12,  we  have  the  Di- 
vine call :  "  Bring  ye  all  the  tithes  into  the 
storehouse,  that  there  may  be  meat  in  Mine 
house,  and  prove  Me  now  herewith,  saith  the 
Lord  of  Hosts,  if  I  will  not  open  you  the  win- 
doAvs  of  heaven,  and  pour  you  out  a  blessing 
that  there  shall  not  be  room  enough  to  receive 
it.  And  I  will  rebuke  the  devourer  for  your 
sakes,  and  he  shall  not  destroy  the  fruits  of 
your  ground  ;  neither  shall  your  vine  cast  her 
fruit  before  the  time  in  the  field,  saith  the 
Lord  of  Hosts.  And  all  nations  shall  call  you 
blessed :  for  ye  shall  be  a  delightsome  land, 
saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts."  In  these  two  pas- 
sages, the  one  declaring  the  burden  of  the 
(prophet,  and  the  other  giving  the  direct  ap- 


66  "Wherein^" 

peal  of  Jehovah,  we  have  the  call  of  love  to 
these  people. 

We  must  bear  in  mind  their  condition,  for 
it  is  a  remarkable  background  to  this  study. 
They  were  perfectly  satisfied  men  and  women, 
and  yet  God,  looking  at  them,  charged  them 
as  He  did,  with  sacrilege,  profanity,  greed, 
and  so  forth.  To  the  people  in  such  a  condi- 
tion, what  has  God  to  say  ? 

"  I  have  loved  you,  saith  the  Lord."  The 
word  is  infinitely  stronger  than  appears  upon 
the  surface.  "  I  have  loved  you,  and  do  love 
you,  I  have  loved  you,  saith  the  Lord."  This 
declaration  was  made  in  the  time  of  their  sin 
and  neglect,  in  the  day  in  which  He  had 
to  make  the  complaint  which  is  so  severe  and 
searching,  and  yet  He  says  to  them :  "  I  have 
loved  you,  saith  the  Lord."  This  is  the  htirden 
of  the  word  of  the  Lord  to  Israel  by  Malachi. 
He  came  to  warn  them  that  a  day  was  com- 
ing, burning  as  an  oven,  wherein  all  stubble 
should  be  destroyed,  because  God  loved  them. 
Every  message  of  coming  judgment  or  bless- 
ing is  a  message  of  love, — whether  sj^oken  in 
words  that  sound  hard,  and  harsh,  and  severe, 
revealing  to  them  their  true  condition,  or  in 
words  of  tenderness,  and  comfort  and  Avooing 

The  Divine  Attitude  67 

If  we  consider  God's  claim  to  the  honor  and 
fear  of  these  people,  it  is  based  upon  love.  Why 
does  God  want  them  to  honor  Him  ?  Why  is 
He  anxious  that  they  should  fear  Him  ?  Sim- 
ply to  glorify  Himself  ?  ]S"ay,  verily,  but  for 
their  blessing  and  good.  "  But,"  says  some 
one,  "is  it  not  a  Divine  prerogative  to  seek 
for  glory  ?  Is  not  God,  at  all  times,  seeking 
His  own  glory  ? "  Most  emphatically  yes ; 
but  what  do  we  mean  Avhen  we  speak  of  God 
seeking  His  own  glory  ?  How  is  God  glori- 
fied ?  I  sometimes  think  that  we  have  an 
idea  that  our  song  and  presence  in  heaven  will 
add  something  to  God.  JSTever !  You  cannot 
add  to  God.  ]^o  tinge  of  brightness  can  you 
put  upon  the  beauty  of  His  character,  no 
greater  fullness  of  love  can  you  give.  How 
then  can  I  glorify  Him  ?  God  is  glorified  in 
the  perfect  realization  on  the  part  of  His  peo- 
ple of  all  the  gracious  purposes  of  His  love  for 

The  daisy  that  lifts  its  head  from  the  sod  to 
salute  the  king  of  day  glorifies  God,  but  does 
it  add  lustre  to  the  Divine  ?  Assuredly  not. 
It  is  all  that  God  meant  it  to  be,  and  God  is 
glorified  by  the  realization  of  His  own  purpose. 
So  with  us.  God  wants  us  to  honor  and  fear 
Him,  because  by  doing  so  Ave  shall  realize  His 
purpose.  Why  does  He  at  times  lift  His  rod 
upon  His  wayward  and  wandering  children  ? 

68  "Wherein?" 

Never  "  willingly,"  but  because  it  is  an  abso- 
lute necessity  for  the  creation  of  character. 
"The  severest  words  of  God  to  man,  and  Ilis 
;  severest  treatment,  manifest  most  perfectly 
'  His  unvarying  and  unchanging  love.  Let 
your  mind  go  back  quickly  over  the  history  of 
God's  people,  Israel.  Mr.  Richard  Le  Galli- 
enne  has  written  a  book,  "  If  I  were  God."  I 
have  often  read  the  history  of  the  ancient  peo- 
ple, and  felt  "  if  I  were  God  "  they  would  have 
been  blotted  out.  How  conclusively  that 
proves  that  neither  Mr.  Le  Gallienne  nor  I 
know  of  what  we  talk  when  we  propose  such 
an  hypothesis.  And  yet  we  can  only  argue  of 
themes  of  the  infinite  wisdom  and  love  by  such 
daring  leaps  in  the  dark.  Let  us  always  con- 
fess when  we  cannot  understand  His  methods 
that  it  is  because  we  are  finite,  and  He  is  infi- 

"  Forty  years  was  I  grieved  with  this  gener- 
ation." Eead  the  history  of  the  forty  years 
and  see  how  He  treated  them !  He  fed  them, 
He  carried  them  through  all  the  days.  He  bore 
with  their  murmurings  and  patiently  waited 
for  them.  He  took  all  their  rebellion  and  suf- 
fered it  in  long-sufi'ering  patience.  He  pro- 
tected them  during  the  watches  of  the  night, 
and  waited  for  them  at  the  doors  of  the  morn- 
ing, and  carried  them  through  all  the  years — 
years  in  which  lie  vxis  grieved  with  them.    Let 

The  Divine  Attitude  69 

us  never  forget  this  burden  of  love.  Is  it  not 
this  attitude  of  God  that  makes  their  attitude 
to  Him  so  awful,  and,  moreover,  is  not  the 
key-word  of  Malachi  the  one  that  gives  its 
character  to  the  whole  book,  so  that  the 
prophecy  of  Malachi  to  us  is  not  a  dirge  as  it 
would  be,  if  we  only  read  of  their  condition ; 
but  a  shout  of  triumph  because  God  says,  "  I 
have  loved  you "  ?  That  is  the  key-word  to 
the  whole  prophecy,  and  with  the  background 
of  our  previous  consideration,  how  brightly 
and  beautifully  the  Divine  love  and  tender- 
ness shine  out  as  we  hear  that  word  of  the 

This  is  an  eternal  truth — each  Avord  and 
deed  and  movement  of  God  toward  man  is  of 
inlinite  love.  It  is  not  always  that  men  have 
understood  this  as  clearly  as  did  Malachi. 
Preachers  sometimes  forget  it ;  but  the  truth 
stands  that  every  God-called,  ordained,  in- 
spired messenger  of  Divine  things  may  ap- 
proach the  people  to  whom  he  speaks,  saying, 
"  The  burden  of  the  word  of  the  Lord  to  you : 
I  have  loved  you,  saith  the  Lord." 


Let  us  now  turn  from  the  key-word  to  the 
special  call.  He  has  made  His  complaint ;  He 
has  heard  their  perpetual  responses,  coming  in 

yo  "Wherein?" 

that  awful  monotone — "  Wherein  ?  "  and  now 
He  says  to  them  by  the  mouth  of  His  servant : 
"  Bring  ye  all  the  tithes  into  the  storehouse 
that  there  may  be  meat  in  Mine  house,  and 
prove  Me  now  herewith,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts,  if  I  will  not  open  you  the  windows  of 
heaven,  and  pour  you  out  a  blessing  that  there 
shall  not  be  room  enough  to  receive  it.  And 
I  will  rebuke  the  devourer  for  your  sakes,  and 
he  shall  not  destroy  the  fruits  of  your  ground, 
neither  shall  your  vine  cast  her  fruit  before 
the  time  in  the  field,  saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts. 
And  all  nations  shall  call  you  blessed ;  for  ye 
shall  be  a  delightsome  land,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts."  "We  have  in  these  three  verses  four 
notes : — 

(1)  The  call  of  God:     "Bring  ye   all  the 

tithes  into  the  storehouse." 

(2)  The  challenge  of  God :    "  And  prove  Me 

now  herewith,  saith  the  Lord  of 

(3)  The  promise  of  God  :     "I  will  open  you 

the  windows  of  heaven,  and  pour  you 
out  a  blessing  that  there  shall  not  be 
room  enough  to  receive  it ;  and  I  will 
rebuke  the  devourer  for  your  sakes, 
and  he  shall  not  destroy  the  fruits  of 
your  ground,  neither  shall  your  vine 
cast  her  fruit  before  the  time  in  the 

The  Divine  Attitude  71 

(4)  The  result :  "  And  all  nations  shall  call 
you  blessed ;  for  ye  shall  he  a  delight- 
some land,  saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts." 
Eemembering  the  condition  of  this  people, 
rebellious,  and  yet  perfectly  satisfied  with  their 
own  position,  let  us  ponder  this  message  of 
God  to  them. 

i.  First,  there  is  the  call:  "Bring  all  the 
tithes  into  the  storehouse."  There  were 
necessarily  two  sides  to  the  covenant  existing 
between  God  and  the  nation.  There  were 
mutual  obligations.  His  promises  were  made 
upon  conditions.  If  they  failed  to  fulfill  these 
conditions,  the  covenant  was  broken.  They 
had  failed,  and  yet  He  in  grace  called  them  to 
a  renewal  by  the  way  of  return  to  obedience. 
"Bring  all  the  tithes  into  the  storehouse." 
What  is  God  really  asking  for?  Does  He 
want  a  tenth  part  of  their  wheat,  of  their 
flocks,  of  their  possessions,  simply  for  Himself, 
to  possess  it?  Assuredly  not.  He  asks  for 
the  tenth  part  as  a  proof  that  they  recognize 
His  love  toward  them.  The  tithe  is  only 
valuable  as  a  recognition  of  love,  and  the  onl}/ 
force  which  is  strong  enough  to  provide  the 
tithe  is  the  consciousness  of  the  truth  of  that 
first  word  of  Malachi:  "I  have  loved  you, 
saith  the  Lord."  If  these  people  forget  God 
loves,  they  will  very  soon  forget  to  bring  the 
tithe;   and   the   only   service  that  God  seeks 

72  "  Wherein  ? '' 

is  the  service  of  love  that  responds  to  His 

He  asks  for  the  "  whole  tithe."  It  is  an  in- 
finitely better  word  than  "all  the  tithes." 
That  is  a  mathematical  phrase,  and  seems  to 
suggest  a  mathematical  or  mechanical  religion, 
but  the  "whole  tithe"  means  not  only  the 
produce  of  their  land  and  labor,  not  only  the 
outward  form,  but  its  inner  intention.  "  All 
the  tithes  "is  not  necessarily  "  the  whole 

Supposing  one  of  these  men  had  possessed  a 
hundred  shekels.  Has  he  not  fulfilled  the 
Divine  requirement  when  he  has  brought  of 
these  hundred,  ten  for  God,  for  mathematically 
that  is  the  tithe  ?  ISTo !  out  of  the  hundred, 
ten  perfect  shekels  may  be  placed  upon  the 
altar,  the  coins  genuine  to  the  eye  of  man,  but 
in  God's  sight — counterfeit.  They  did  not 
constitute  "the  whole."  What  was  lacking? 
The  recognition  of  love.  There  was  not  the 
response  of  love  to  love  for  which  God  is  al- 
ways asking :  "  Bring  the  whole  tithe."  There 
is  an  apparent  wholeness  to  us  that  is  the 
utterest  fraud  in  the  sight  of  God.  There  is  a 
mechanical  correctness,  devoid  of  essential 
love,  which  God  spurns.  "Bring  the  whole 
tithe,"  and  bring  it  in  the  right  way  ;  let  it 
come  as  the  recognition  of  His  love.  When  it 
is  thus  brought,  it  means,  borrowing  a  sen- 

The  Divine  Attitude  73 

tence  from  the  'New  Testament,  "We  love 
Him,  because  He  first  loved  us."  Our  love  is 
but  the  offspring  of  His  love,  our  tithe  given, 
a  recognition  of  His  all  bestowed. 

God  is  calling  for  the  investiture  of  form 
with  power,  and  the  one  power  which  God 
recognizes  is  that  of  love.  If  we  would  see 
our  organizations  invested  with  power  they 
must  be  invested  with  love,  and  the  preacher 
is  to  preach,  and  the  worker  to  work,  not  to 
give  God  a  mechanical  quantity,  but  in  re- 
sponse to  love.  When  that  is  an  established 
fact  the  tithes  are  brought  into  the  storehouse. 

ii.  liow  for  the  challenge  :  "  Prove  Me  now 
herewith."  Get  to  know  Me  by  answering 
My  love  with  your  love ;  respond  to  the  love 
that  is  ever  upon  you,  even  in  your  rebellion 
and  sin,  with  love,  and  by  that  response  be  ad- 
mitted into  love  and  knowledge  and  under- 
standing. "  Prove  Me  now  herewith."  This 
was  God's  challenge  to  the  people. 

iii.  Mark  the  promise :  "  Prove  Me  if  I  will 
not  open  you  the  windows  of  heaven,  and  pour 
you  out  a  blessing  that  there  shall  not  be  room 
enough  to  receive  it.  "  The  source  of  blessing 
— heaven's  windows  open ;  the  measure  of 
blessing — until  there  shall  not  be  room  enough 
to  receive  ito  Now  the  word  really  is,  until 
there  shall  not  be  a  "  sufficiency." 

It  is  possible  that  our  translators  both  in  the 

74  "Wherein?" 

Authorized  and  Revised  versions  have  caught 
the  true  spirit  of  the  word,  but  it  is  somewhat 
ambiguous.  One  daring  commentator  of  other 
days  suggests  that  it  should  read ;  "  Prove 
Me  noAV  hercAvith,  saith  God,  till  there  shall 
not  be  a  sufficiency,"  "  that  is  to  say,"  says  the 
writer,  "God  will  keep  on  pouring  blessing 
out  until  His  own  sufficiency  ends ;  and  when 
can  that  be  ?  JN'ever  !  "  The  writer  says  this 
is  the  most  remarkable  figure  in  the  whole 
book.  It  is  a  magnificent  conception  even  if 
it  does  not  catch  the  first  and  true  meaning  of 
the  word.  The  thought  is  that  of  the  "  prodi- 
gality "  of  Divine  love.  It  runs  over  every 
measure,  and  goes  before  us,  and  encompasses 
us  even  in  our  sin,  and  He  says :  "If  you  will 
but  bring  the  tithe,  acknowledge  the  love,  and 
look  up  and  say  '  Eternal  Love,  we  love,'  I  will 
open  the  windows  of  heaven  and  pour  out  a 
blessing  that  you  cannot  receive  it." 

What  else ?  "I  will  rebuke  the  devourer." 
The  insect  that  is  destroying  your  crops  I  will 
destroy  for  your  sakes.  That  word  "  rebuke  " 
is  the  same  which  is  used  in  the  second  chap- 
ter and  the  third  verse,  translated  there :  "  Be- 
hold, I  will  coTTujpt  your  seed."  Corrupt  is 
the  correct  word.  Lift  that  word  and  put  it 
in  here.  "  I  will  corrupt  the  devourer."  The 
punishment  was  that  all  the  seed  was  to  be 
corrupt.     The  blessing  was  that  not  the  seed, 

The  Divine  Attitude  75 

but  the  devourer  was  to  be  corrupted.     "I 
will  corrupt  the  devourer." 

And  then  follows  that  perfect  figure  of 
beauty  and  strength :  "  [N'either  shall  your 
vine  cast  her  fruit  before  the  time  in  the 

iv.  What  is  to  be  the  result  of  this  blessing  ? 
''  All  nations  shall  call  you  happy."  God  says 
that  when  His  people  return  to  Him,  bringing 
the  tithes,  and  He  returns  to  them  in  blessing, 
there  is  to  be  a  great  consensus  of  opinion  as 
to  their  condition.  All  the  nations  of  the 
world  will  make  an  admission  concerning 
them.  There  shall  be  none  who  shall  deny 
their  blessedness  and  happiness.  "  All  nations 
shall  call  you  blessed."  The  world  is  waiting 
for  that.  I  do  not  think  it  has  ever  seen  it. 
The  blessing  of  God  for  the  people  has  not 
been  seen  in  Israel's  history  or  in  the  history 
of  the  Christian  Church.  We  have  never 
reached  it.  I  think  it  Avill  come  when  the 
King  comes,  and  in  His  own  Kingdom  He  sets 
up  the  blessings  of  love  which  He  described  in 
the  Sermon  on  the  Mount;  then  all  the  na- 
tions shall  say,  "Happy  is  the  people  whose 
God  is  the  Lord." 

And  what  more?  "Yours  shall  be  a  de- 
lightsome land,"  perfect  in  itself,  the  ideal 
realized  as  the  result  of  obedience. 

76  "  Wh 



What  are  the  thoughts  which  this  study  of 
the  Divine  attitude  suggests  for  us  ?  First, 
that  of  the  great  eternal  love.  Notwithstand- 
ing all  the  varied  and  varying  conditions  of 
humanity,  love  underlies  all  the  Divine  deal- 
ings, and  love  still  marks  the  attitude  of  God 
to  His  people  despite  their  failures,  their  rebel- 
lion, alas  !  alas  !  so  often  evident.  There  is  a 
very  considerable  tendency  to-day,  on  the  part 
of  the  people  whose  eyes  are  open,  and  who 
are  in  a  measure  responding  to  the  Divine  call, 
to  become  a  clique,  or  class,  and  look  down  on 
the  failure  of  their  brethren  and  sisters  who 
are  living  the  lower  life  of  formalism.  Di- 
rectly you  find  ^^ourself  looking  down  with 
lack  of  love  upon  your  fellow  Christians,  rest 
assured  that  you  are  departing  from  that  very 
blessing  of  which  you  have  been  j)roud. 

God  is  saying  to  us :  "I  have  loved  you." 
That  is  why  He  never  gives  you  any  rest  about 
that  particular  habit,  which  appears  so  inno- 
cent, and  yet  which  is  the  very  crux  of  the 
controversy  between  you  and  Himself.  "I 
have  loved  you,  saith  the  Lord."  It  is  the  in- 
finite proof  of  love  when  God  does  not  let  you 
rest.  It  is  as  dangerous  to  let  your  conscience 
assume  a  state  of  apathy  as  it  would  be  to  al- 
low a  sleepy  man  to  slumber  in  the  snows  of 

The  Divine  Attitude  77 

the  Sierras.  Have  you  a  controversy  with 
God  which  has  been  going  on  for  weeks,  aye, 
for  months,  and  even  years,  until  you  are 
weary  of  it,  and  in  danger  of  growing  rebel- 
lious because  of  Ilis  interference — Hold,  man ! 
— "  I  have  loved  you  ! "  If  God  had  not  loved 
you,  He  would  have  left  you  to  your  own  de- 
vices and  evil.  Your  evil  habit,  selfish  indul- 
gence, is  your  enemy,  and  while  God  brings 
you  back  to  this  point,  time  after  time.  He  is 
proving  His  love  for  your  soul.  "  I  have  loved 
you."  We  must  live  in  the  element  of  this 
Divine  love. 

The  next  lesson  I  gather  is  that  of  the  rela- 
tion which  exists  between  tithe  and  blessing. 
"  Bring  the  tithe,  and  I  will  open  the  windows 
of  heaven."  How  perpetually  people  in  prayer- 
meetings  pray  the  promise  and  forget  the  con- 
ditions. We  pray  :  "  Open  the  Avindows  of 
heaven  and  pour  us  out  a  blessing,"  and  God 
replies  :  "  Bring  the  tithes."  It  is  as  though 
God  said  to  you  :  "  It  is  for  you  to  open  the 
windows."  What?  the  windows  of  heaven? 
Yes !  heaven's  windows  always  swing  upon 
love's  hinges.  There  is  a  very  radical  and 
practical  application  of  this  phrase,  which  one 
is  slow  to  make  and  yet  it  must  be  made.  Do 
not  imagine  because  ^ve  are  living  in  a  spirit- 
ual dispensation  we  are  no  longer  bound  in 
the   matter   of  material  giving.     We  are  to 

78  "  Wherein  ?  " 

bring  the  tithes.  It  is  not  the  tithe  that  God 
asks  from  you,  but  everything!  You  may 
make  a  proportionate  statement  of  it  if  you 
Avill.  As  the  Christian  dispensation  is  greater 
than  the  Jewish,  so  must  my  giving  be  greater 
than  a  tithe,  and  when  you  have  worked  out 
the  first  ratio  you  will  begin  to  understand 
the  second.  When  men  come  and  say,  "  Here 
we  are,  our  interests,  ourselves,  our  business — • 
everything,"  then  the  windows  of  heaven  are 
never  shut — never ! 

I  want  you  to  see  the  subtle  connection  be- 
tween tithe  and  blessing.  You  know  that  lit- 
tle verse  that  people  sing  in  Conventions  — 

"'  My  all  is  on  the  altar, 
I'm  waiting  for  the  fire." 

It  is  an  absolute  absurdity.  Nobody  ever 
waited  for  the  fire  when  all  was  on  the  altar. 
Let  a  man  sing  if  he  like  — 

"  A  part  is  on  the  altar. 
I'm  waiting  for  the  fire." 

I  do  not  know  that  he  ought  to  waste  the  time 
in  singing  even  that,  but  bestir  himself  to  get 
the  other  portion  on  the  altar.  That  is  his 
business.  When  you  and  I  put  our  all  upon 
the  altar  the  fire  falls  directly.  You  read  in 
the  story  of  Elijah  how  the  fire  descended 
straightway.  God's  conditions  being  fulfilled 
—God's  promises  never  halt.     It  is  you  and  I 

The  Divine  Attitude 


that  are  maimed,  and  lame,  and  halt.  God 
does  not  halt.  "Bring  the  tithes,"  and  the 
moment  they  come  the  windows  open  and  the 
showers  of  blessing  descend.  That  is  a  law 
which  applies  equally  to  the  individual,  to  the 
nation,  to  the  Church,  and  to  the  world.  We 
begin  with  ourselves.  When  my  all  is  upon 
the  altar,  then  the  windows  of  heaven  are 
open  and  the  blessing  descends.  When  the 
Church  brings  the  tithe  into  the  storehouse, 
and  acknowledging  and  honoring  Him,  sweeps 
aAvay  all  methods  that  so  detract  from  the  ful- 
fillment of  her  mission  and  says,  "Only  for 
Thy  glory  do  I  exist,"  then  the  blessing  is 
given.     Mail's  tithes  and  GocTs  windows. 

Then  we  must  go  further  still  and  notice, 
not  only  the  relationship  between  tithe  and 
blessing,  but  that  between  love  and  tithe. 
Tithes  never  reach  the  storehouse  except  in 
response  to  love.  Mechanical  religion  cannot 
last ;  it  always  becomes  weary  and  ceases.  I 
may  preach  to  you  and  use  every  argument  I 
know  as  to  your  giving  to  God.  You  will 
never  do  it  in  response  to  human  eloquence. 
When  do  men  give  to  God  ?  When  they  have 
a  true  vision  of  Him.  That  is  the  secret  of 
giving  tithes,  and  that,  in  its  turn,  is  the  secret 
of  the  opening  of  heaven's  windows. 

Out  of  that  grows  another  question.  How 
can  we  love  ?     Only  as  we  prove  God  in  the 

8o  "  Wherein  ?  " 

patli  of  obedience.  This  is  a  burden  laid  upon 
my  own  heart  perpetually.  I  love  God  in  pro- 
portion as  I  obey  Him.  The  first  steps  may 
be  taken  in  the  dark  without  seeing  a  reason, 
but  take  them,  and  you  begin  to  see  the  wis- 
dom and  tenderness,  and  compassion,  and  love 
of  God.  I  love  when  I  obey,  and  when  I  love, 
I  obey.  Which  is  cause  and  which  is  effect  ? 
There  is  an  inter-relation  in  the  progress  of 
Christian  love„  But  obedience  is  the  first 
thing.  In  the  beginning,  seek  first  the  King- 
dom, and  when  the  soul  seeks  the  Kingdom  by 
obeying  the  King,  the  soul  discovers  the  Fa- 
ther, and  discovering  the  Father  obeys  more 
readily,  and  obeying  more  readily,  has  a  larger 
revelation  which  makes  obedience  easy  and 
the  horizon  greater.  We  are  changed  from 
glory  into  glory,  and  at  last  we  shall  be  like 
Him,  and  obey  perfectly.  Such  is  the  Divine 

A  delightsome  land  in  the  mind  of  God  is 
acknowledged  happy  by  the  nations.  How  is 
it  that  the  world  is  so  sick  and  tired  of  Chris- 
tianity? How  is  it  that  men  outside  the 
Church  have  come  to  look  upon  us  with  dis- 
dain ?  Is  it  not  so  ?  You  business  men,  tell 
me,  is  there  not  a  sort  of  pity  in  the  heart  of 
scores  of  worldly  men  for  Christian  men  to- 
day? Why  is  this?  It  is  the  fault  of  the 
Church,   of  the    people  themselves,   not  the 

The  Divine  Attitude  8l 

creed.  "  Give  me,"  said  John  Wesley,  "  a  hun- 
dred men  Avho  love  God  with  all  their  hearts, 
and  fear  nothing  but  sin,  and  I  will  move  the 
world."  People  who  saw  and  mocked  them 
in  the  early  days  grew  to  love  them,  and  came 
to  sa}^:  "These  people  have  what  we  have 
not ;  we  will  go  with  them,  for  God  is  with 
them."  Again  and  again  God  has  raised  up  a 
despised  and  unknown  people  to  render  con- 
crete the  blessings  of  His  Kingdom  and  Gov- 
ernment ;  and  where  this  has  been  done  the 
world  has  said,  "  This  is  a  delightsome  land," 
and  where  the  world  has  ceased  to  say  that,  it 
is  because  the  people  have  wandered  away 
from  Him.  Brethren,  if  the  Church  of  Jesus 
Christ  in  this  land  returned  to  the  Kingdom 
to-morrow  morning,  and  every  one  of  its  mem- 
bers returned  to  the  Kingship  of  Jesus  Christ, 
the  whole  country  would  be  impressed  straight- 
way, and  within  one  twelvemonth  would  say, 
"  These  are  the  people,  this  is  the  delightsome 
land,  these  the  men  and  women  of  delights." 
Some  one  says  to  me :  "  What  do  you  mean  by 
returning  to  the  Kingdom  ?  Everything  di- 
vided, having  all  things  in  common  ?  "  I  mean 
one  thing  when  I  say  returning  to  the  King- 
dom. Let  them  return  to  love,  to  the  love 
"  that  suff ereth  long  and  is  kind — that  thinketh 
no  evil,  rejoiceth  not  in  iniquit}^,  but  rejoiceth 
in  the  truth ;  beareth  all  things,  believeth  all 

82  "  Wherein  ?  " 

things,  hopeth  all  things."  Love  like  that,  and 
you  will  never  say  a  bitter  thing  about  an  ab- 
sent neighbor !  You  will  never  suffer  an  un- 
kind thing  to  be  said  about  some  one  "  afar 
off."  That  is  the  place  to  begin,  and  if  the 
Church  of  Jesus  Christ  did  but  reveal  His  will 
in  all  its  breadth,  and  beauty  of  love,  the  na- 
tions would  begin  to  say,  "  This  is  a  delight- 
some land ;  surely  God  is  with  this  people,  we 
will  go  with  them  also." 

This  is  God's  call  to  the  Church,  with  its 
sleeping,  slumbering  energies.  Oh  yes,  one 
must  put  it  like  that,  because  if  the  Church, 
the  great  company  of  men  and  women  in  the 
world  to-day,  who  name  the  name  of  Christ, 
were  living  in  the  Kingdom,  actuated  by  the 
love  of  God,  responding  to  the  forces  of  His 
Spirit,  we  could  settle  every  question  straight- 
way. God  is  brooding  over  His  sleeping  peo- 
ple, His  sleeping  Church,  and  saying,  "  I  have 
loved  you."  "  Bring  ye  all  the  tithes  into  the 
storehouse,  that  there  may  be  meat  in  Mine 
house,  and  prove  Me  now  herewith,  saith  the 
Lord  of  Hosts,  if  I  will  not  open  you  the  win- 
dows of  heaven,  and  pour  you  out  a  blessing, 
that  there  shall  not  be  room  enough  to  receive 
it.  And  I  will  rebuke  the  devourer  for  your 
sakes,  and  he  shall  not  destroy  the  fruits  of 
your  ground ;  neither  shall  your  vine  cast  her 
fruit  before  the  time  in  the  field,  saith  the 

The  Divine  Attitude  83 

Lord  of  Hosts.  And  all  nations  shall  call  you 
blessed:  for  ye  shall  be  a  delightsome  land, 
saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts."  ^' Prove  Me,"  says 
God.  There  is  one  question  for  us:  "Who 
hears  the  Divine  call  ?  and  hearing,  who  will 
respond  ?  " 




God  has  never  left  Himself  without  a  defi- 
nite and  clear  witness  to  the  truths  upon  which 
the  well-being  of  humanity  is  based.  In  the 
first  chapter  of  John's  gospel,  verses  four  and 
five,  we  read :  "  In  Him  was  life,  and  the  life 
was  the  light  of  men.  And  the  light  shineth 
in  darkness,  and  the  darkness  comprehended  it 
not."  The  Eevised  Version  has  altered  the 
word  "  comprehended  "  to  "  apprehended  "  ; 
and  I  am  not  perfectly  sure  that  it  has  made 
the  passage  more  luminous  by  the  alteration. 
The  idea  of  the  verse  is  not  that  the  darkness 
was  not  able  to  understand  the  light ;  but  that 
the  darkness  never  succeeded  in  overtaking 
and  extinguishing  the  light.  "  The  light  shin- 
eth in  darkness,  and  the  darkness  compre- 
hended it  not,"  that  is — did  not  apprehend, 
overtake,  or  put  out.  There  have  been  times 
in  the  history  of  man  when  it  has  seemed  as 
though  the  whole  world  has  been  given  over 
to  darkness ;  but  it  has  never  really  been  so. 
The  light  of  God  has  ever  been  shining. 
Elijah  once  said  in  the  agony  of  his  disap- 


88  "  Wherein '?  '^ 

pointed  spirit,  "  I,  even  I,  only  am  left,"  and 
God  said  to  him,  "  I  have  left  Me  seven  thou- 
sand in  Israel,  all  the  knees  which  have  not 
bowed  unto  Baal."  Thus  in  every  successive 
age,  when  it  has  seemed  for  a  while  as  though 
God  were  beaten  out  of  His  own  world,  and 
black  and  impenetrable  darkness  had  com- 
pletely overpowered  the  light,  that  has  only 
been  the  false  vision  of  men  and  women  who 
have  not  been  able  to  enclose  the  Divine  hori- 
zon at  one  glance.  Somewhere  or  other,  al- 
though it  may  not  have  been  discernible  to 
the  ordinary  vision,  the  light  has  still  been 

It  was  so  in  the  days  of  Malachi.  Notwith- 
standing all  the  fearful  darkness  that  had 
settled  upon  the  nation,  God  had  His  own 
people.  His  Elect  Kemnant ;  and  through  them 
the  light  still  shone,  and  witness  was  still 
borne  to  the  great  truths  and  principles  uj)on 
which  all  the  Divine  activity  is  based  for  the 
well-being  of  man.  It  is  on  the  shining  of  the 
Divine  light  in  that  dark  period  of  the  history 
of  the  ancient  people  of  God  that  we  shall  now 
^x  our  attention.  We  shall  consider  firstly 
the  Elect  Eemnant  as  it  is  revealed  in  these 
verses ;  then  we  shall  notice  the  Divine  atti- 
tude toward  that  Remnant ;  and  lastly,  hear 
the  Divine  word  spoken  concerning  them. 

The  Elect  Remnant  89 

"  Then  they  that  feared  the  Lord  spake  often 
one  to  another."  Eight  in  the  midst  of  that 
day — when  the  nation,  considered  as  a  whole, 
had  passed  into  the  region  of  life  characterized 
by  perfect  self-satisfaction,  and  by  the  fact  that 
they  brought  no  satisfaction  to  the  Divine 
Heart — God  pronounced  His  complaint  against 
them,  and  they,  ahnost  speechless  with  in- 
credulity, looked  into  His  face  and  said, 
"  Wherein  f "  Then  there  existed  a  feeble 
yet  faithful  few  who  were  the  light-bearers  of 

Let  us  notice  the  character  of  this  Elect 
Eemnant :  "  They  that  feared."  At  the  close 
of  the  sixteenth  verse  of  the  third  chapter, 
that  first  fact  is  not  only  repeated,  but  em- 
phasized by  the  addition  of  another:  "They 
that  feared  the  Lord,  and  that  thought  ujpon 
His  nameP  "We  have  here  a  revelation  of 
the  character  of  these  people,  which  is  full  of 
interest  and  of  meaning.  "They  feared  the 
Lord,  and  thought  upon  His  name." 

Let  us  take  the  first  part  of  that  description. 
If  you  turn  back  to  the  sixth  verse  of  the  first 
chapter,  you  will  find  that  in  the  opening  note 
of  the  Divine  complaint  the  prophet  said :  "  A 
son  honoreth  his  father,  and  a  servant  his  mas- 
ter; if,  then,  I  be  a  Father,  where  is  Mine 

go  "Wherein?* 

honor?  and  if  I  be  a  Master,  where  is  My 
fear  ?  "  Here  is  a  company  that  hcwe  "  feared 
the  Lord,"  and  have  "thought  upon  His 
name " ;  so  that  amid  all  the  mass  of  people 
who  had  lost  the  sense  of  their  fear  to  their 
Master,  there  was  an  Elect  Remnant,  a  select 
few,  who  not  only  called  Him  "  Master,"  but 
also  feared  Him.  The  thought  of  fear  is 
linked,  then,  with  the  word  master,  and  with 
all  that  that  word  implies.  If  you  speak  of  a 
master,  you  at  once  think  of  a  servant ;  and 
while  the  relationship  of  the  master  to  the 
servant  is  that  of  authority  and  will  and  guid- 
ance, the  relation  of  the  servant  to  the  master 
is  that  of  obedience  and  service.  Bearing  this 
in  mind,  you  notice  that  service  is  looked  upon 
here  rather  as  condition  than  action.  Charac- 
ter is  marked  in  this  word,  "  They  that  feared 
the  Lord " ;  they  that  lived  within  the  con- 
scious realm  of  the  Divine,  and  responded  to 
that  claim  ;  that  number  of  units  in  the  great 
crowd  who  recognized  the  Divine  Kingship,  not 
merely  as  theory,  or  as  something  of  which 
they  made  a  boast  to  other  people,  but  as  the 
power  in  which  they  lived  their  lives  and 
spent  all  their  days :  "  They  feared  the  Lord." 
There  were  men  and  women  all  around  mak- 
ino^  offering's,  and  crowdino^  the  courts  of  the 
temple  at  the  hour  of  worship.  Among  those 
who  came,  God  detected  the  men  and  women 

The  Elect  Remnant  91 

who  really  feared,  and  He  selected  only  the 
gifts  of  those  who  presented  something — not 
as  an  attempt  to  make  up  what  they  lacked  in 
character,  but  as  an  output  of  character,  and 
as  a  revelation  of  what  they  were  within 
themselves.     "  They  feared  the  Lord." 

Let  us  now  turn  to  the  second  part  of  this 
description :  "  They  thought  upon  His  name." 
The  word  "  thought "  is  one  of  intense  mean- 
ing, and  I  should  like  to  trace  it  in  one  or  two 
passages  of  Scripture  in  order  that  we  may 
more  clearly  understand  it. 

In  the  seventeenth  verse  of  the  thirteenth 
chapter  of  Isaiah  we  read  :  "  Behold,  I  will  stir 
up  the  Medes  against  them,  which  shall  not 
regard  silver ;  and  as  for  gold,  they  shall  not 
delight  in  it."  The  only  purpose  for  which  we 
have  turned  to  this  verse  is  that  we  may  extract 
the  word  "  regard  "  from  it,  and  see  how  it  is 
used  in  this  particular  case.  The  Medes  will 
not  "  regard  "  silver — that  is  to  say,  that  they 
will  set  no  value  on  silver.  The  Medes,  stirred 
up  against  the  ancient  people  of  God,  will  not 
be  bought  off  by  silver.  They  do  not  set  any 
value  upon  it,  they  do  not  "  regard  "  it.  The 
connection  between  this  thought  and  that  of 
our  text  is  centered  in  the  fact  that  the  Hebrew 
word  translated  "  think  "  in  Malachi  is  exactly 
the  same  word  which  is  translated  "  regard  " 
in  Isaiah.     They  thought  upon  His  name,  they 

92  "Wherein?" 

regarded  His  name,  they  set  a  value  upon  His 

Take  another  case  in  which  the  same  word 
is  again  translated  "regard."  Isaiah  xxxiii. 
8,  "The  highways  lie  waste,  the  wayfaring 
man  ceaseth :  he  hath  broken  the  Covenant, 
he  hath  despised  the  cities,  he  regardeth  no 
man."  That  is,  he  sets  no  value  upon  man. 
The  word  is  identical  with  that  translated  in 
Malachi :  "  They  that  thought  upon  the  Lord  " 
— that  is  to  say,  what  these  people  did  not  do 
concerning  man,  the  Elect  Eemnant  did  con- 
cerning God.  I  do  not  say  there  is  any  con- 
nection between  these  passages ;  we  are  simply 
getting  the  light  of  them  upon  a  particular 
word  in  our  present  study.  They  regarded 
God,  they  set  a  value  upon  Him.  In  the  ter- 
rible day  described  by  Isaiah  the  personal  man 
was  not  regarded,  he  was  accounted  as  "  noth- 
ing worth,"  valueless ;  but  this  Elect  Eemnant 
set  regard  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord ;  they 
did  for  that  JSTame  what  the  Medes  did  not  do 
for  silver,  and  what  was  not  done  for  man  in 
the  days  of  which  Isaiah  writes. 

In  the  same  prophecy  a  very  remarkable 
case  occurs.  Isaiah  liii.  3 :  "  He  is  despised 
and  rejected  of  men ;  a  Man  of  sorrows,  and 
acquainted  with  grief :  and  we  hid  as  it  were 
our  faces  from  Him ;  He  was  despised,  and  we 
esteemed    Him    not."     "Esteemed"    is    the 

The  Elect  Remnant  93 

word ;  it  is  the  same  Hebrew  word  translated 
"thought"  in  Malachi.  You  see  the  word 
again  abnost  more  wonderfuby  presented  here 
than  in  other  instances.  "  We  esteemed  Him 
not."  We  thought  nothing  of  Him ;  we  set  no 
vabie  upon  Him ;  His  worth  in  our  sight  was 
nothing,  and  we  spurned  Him  from  us.  He 
came  to  His  own,  and  they  received  Him  not ; 
they  perceived  no  beauty  in  Him  that  they 
should  desire  Him.  But  the  Elect  Eemnant 
esteemed  the  name  of  the  Lord ;  they  "  thought 
upon  His  name" — they  set  a  high  value 

To  follow  this  thought  a  little  further  in 
order  that  we  may  get  additional  light  upon 
it,  turn  to  the  letter  of  Paul  to  the  Philippians, 
iv.  8  :  "  Finally,  brethren,  whatsoever  things 
are  true,  whatsoever  things  are  honest,  what- 
soever things  are  just,  whatsoever  things  are 
pure,  whatsoever  things  are  lovely,  whatsoever 
things  are  of  good  report ;  if  there  be  any  vir- 
tue, and  if  there  be  any  praise,  think  on  these 
things."  The  Greek  word  translated  "  think  " 
here  is  a  word  which  means  "  Take  an  inven- 
tory." What  are  the  things  of  which  men,  as 
a  rule,  take  an  inventory  ?  Things  which  they 
value ;  and  Paul,  in  writing,  is  practically  say- 
ing, "  Do  not  reckon  as  riches  things  perish- 
ing ;  but  those  things  which  make  you  rich  in- 
deed, the  things  which  are  true,  honest,  just, 

94  "Wherein*?" 

pure,  lovely,  of  good  report,  take  an  inventory 
of  these,  keep  your  mind  upon  them,  set  a 
value  upon  them."  In  the  Septuagint  the 
translators  have  taken  this  word  which  Paul 
uses,  and  have  used  it  in  the  three  cases  in 
Isaiah — to  which  we  have  already  referred — so 
that  when  you  read,  "  These  men  thought  on 
the  name  of  the  Lord,"  it  is  not  a  matter  of 
little  moment ;  they  did  not  simply  meditate 
upon  His  name,  and  meet  together  to  endeavor 
to  comprehend  its  deep  riches.  All  this  I  be- 
lieve they  did ;  but  their  position  as  described 
by  this  word  is  far  more  Avonderf ul  than  that. 
It  is  that  they  set  value  upon  the  name  of  the 
Lord,  esteemed  it,  made  an  inventory  in  it,  ac- 
counted it  as  their  property,  wealth,  riches. 
It  was  the  chief  thing ;  nothing  else  was  worth 
consideration  to  these  faithful  people.  They 
took  an  inventory  in  the  name  of  the  Lord. 

That  leads  us  to  another  point.  The  Master 
Himself,  in  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount,  chron- 
icled in  Matthew  v.,  vi.,  vii.,  gave  utterance  to 
these  words  :  "  Where  your  treasure  is,  there 
will  your  heart  be  also."  That  is  one  of  the 
sayings  of  Jesus  Christ  which  is  of  such  smi- 
plicity  that  I  may  use  it  as  an  everyday  truth 
in  my  experience,  and  yet  it  is  at  the  same 
time  the  statement  of  a  great  fundamental 
principle  in  all  human  life.  "Where  your 
treasure  is,  there  will  your  heart  be  also."     The 

The  Elect  Remnant  95 

masses  of  the  people  of  Malachi's  day  found 
their  treasure  in  their  possessions,  in  their  na- 
tionality, and  in  the  temple,  and  consequently 
their  hearts  reached  no  higher  altitude  than 
the  platform  of  things  mundane ;  but  the  Elect 
Eemnant  set  store  by  the  name  of  the  great 
Jehovah,  and  their  hearts  Avere  therefore 
homed  in  God. 

Turn  once  more  to  Proverbs  xxiii.  7,  where 
these  words  occur :  "  As  a  man  thinketh  in  his 
heart,  so  is  he."  These  people  thought  upon 
the  name  of  the  Lord,  and  where  their  treas- 
ure was  their  heart  nestled,  the  result  being 
that  their  whole  life  assumed  form  and  char« 
acter  from  their  conception  of  treasure,  and 
from  the  things  upon  which  their  hearts  medi- 

"  They  thought  upon  the  name  of  the  Lord." 
That  word  reveals  a  company  of  people  who 
valued  the  N^ame,  and  counted  it  as  their  chief 
treasure,  with  the  result  that  their  character 
became  responsive  to  all  that  the  IS'ame  signi- 
fied, and  their  life  grew  in  closer  correspond- 
ence to  the  will  of  God. 

What  a  name  was  that  on  which  they  thus 
thought  may  be  gathered  from  a  study  of  the 
titles  associated  therewith  in  the  mind  of  the 
Hebrew.  JehovaJi-Jireh — The  Lord  will  pro- 
vide; Jehovah-Tsidkenu — The  Lord  our  right- 
eousness;    Jehovcth-SJialom — The    Lord    send 

96  "Wherein?" 

peace ;  Jeliovali-Nissi — The  Lord  our  ban- 
ner; Jehovah -Shammah — The  Lord  is  there. 
Search  the  matter  out  for  yourselves,  and  you 
will  find  that  these  people  had  a  marvellous 
heritage  in  the  name  of  Jehovah.  He  had 
revealed  Himself  by  names  continually,  and 
there  had  been  along  the  line  of  their  history 
new  beauty,  new  glory,  perpetually  breaking 
out  by  means  of  these  very  names  by  which 
God  had  approached  them  time  after  time. 
These  people  thought  upon  the  name  of  the 
Lord,  of  His  provision  for  them ;  His  right- 
eousness ;  His  banner,  the  proof  of  love  in  His 
conflict  with  sin ;  of  His  presence,  and,  think- 
ing of  these  things,  their  nature  was  trans- 
formed into  correspondence  with  His  own,  so 
that  they  became  righteous,  and  they  became 
peaceful,  and  they  became  quiet  in  the  pres- 
ence of  their  faithful  God.  So  much  for  the 
character  of  this  Elect  Eemnant. 

A  word  or  two  concerning  their  occupation. 
"  They  that  feared  the  Lord  spake  one  to  an- 
other." The  word  "  often  "  is  omitted  in  the 
Revised  Version,  and  does  not  occur  in  the 
original.  It  is  one  of  those  words  that  seem 
to  add  to,  but  in  reality  detract  from,  the 
meaning  of  the  text.  "  Spake  often  one  to 
another"  admits  of  gaps  in  the  fellowship. 
"  Spake  one  to  another  "  tells  the  whole  story 
of  their  communication,  for  it  marks  the  atti- 

The  Elect  Remnant  07 

tilde  rather  than  the  occupation  of  a  life. 
"  They  spake  one  to  another."  It  is  the  great 
statement  of  fellowship,  of  the  gathering  to- 
gether in  a  community  of  hearts  holding  the 
same  treasure,  of  characters  that  were  grow- 
ing into  the  same  likeness ;  it  is  the  statement 
of  a  great  necessity,  darkness  all  around,  light 
becomes  focused ;  evil  spreading  its  ramifica- 
tions on  every  hand,  children  of  righteousness 
come  close  together.  "  They  spake  one  to  an- 
other ; "  and  of  what  did  they  speak  ?  Surely 
concerning  that  of  which  they  thought ;  they 
spoke  of  His  name,  their  mutual  possession  in 
that  name,  their  mutual  joy  in  that  name, 
their  mutual  sorrow  by  reason  of  the  fact  that 
that  name  was  being  blasphemed  by  the  nation 
they  were  bound  to  love,  because  they  them- 
selves formed  a  part  of  it. 

Mark,  the  great  value  of  this  fellowship  of 
kindred  spirits  lay  in  the  fact  that  they  were 
strong  by  reason  thereof.  Scattered  souls  are 
ever  weaker  than  those  bound  together  in 
feeling,  and  principle,  and  desire.  This  Elect 
Kemnant,  so  weak  and  feeble  that  I  venture 
to  say  that  none  but  God  would  have  found 
it,  or  known  it  existed,  was  the  one  thing 
that  saved  the  nation  from  absolute  and  total 
Nv^reckage  and  deplorable  ruin — the  little  group 
df  souls  who  feared  the  Lord,  and  who  gath- 
ered together  to  speak  to  each  other  concern- 

gS  "  Wherein  ?  " 

ing  Ilim.  Just  notice  in  passing  that  it  was 
not  a  prayer-meeting;  it  was  a  fellowship- 
meeting,  if  a  meeting  at  all.  I  do  not  say 
these  people  did  not  pray ;  but  I  am  much  in- 
clined to  think  that  they  had  passed  into  the 
higher  realm  of  prayer,  to  which  men  and 
women  always  pass  under  the  stress  of  adver- 
sity, when  the  storm-clouds  threaten  to  envelop 
their  lives.  Their  gatherings  were  the  means 
for  fellowship  rather  than  the  place  for  peti- 
tion, and  "  they  spake  one  to  another." 


Secondly,  what  is  the  Divine  attitude  to- 
ward this  Elect  Kemnant  ?  "  The  Lord 
hearlcened  and  fieardP  Please  to  omit  the 
word  "  it "  !  The  words  "  hearkened  "  and 
"  heard "  are  not  identical ;  there  is  a  great 
necessity  that  they  should  both  appear.  He 
hearkened — He  heard.  The  root  meaning  of 
"  hearkened  "  is  to  prick  the  ears.  You  have 
known  Avhat  it  is  to  drive  a  horse  which  is 
familiar  with  your  voice  and  loves  you.  After 
travelling  several  miles  along  your  journey 
you  suddenly  speak,  and  you  see  the  animal's 
ears  instantly  pricking.  That  is  the  true 
meaning  of  the  word  "  hearkened  " — prick- 
ing the  ears.  "The  Lord  hearkened."  Of 
course,  these  illustrations  appear  to  be  degrad- 
ing to  the  thought  of  the  Divine,  and  yet,  the 

The  Elect  Remnant  99 

whole  of  human  speech  is  human;  we  have 
not  yet  learned  the  language  of  the  spirit 
world,  we  have  not  yet  begun  to  spell  out 
the  alphabet  of  the  true  communication  be- 
tween God  and  those  who  inhabit  that  world ; 
we  are  bound  to  take  these  words  in  all  their 
human  sense.  God  condescends  to  take  up 
the  words  with  which  we  are  most  familiar 
and  teach  us  through  this  avenue,  because  we 
could  not  understand  if  He  did  not  condense 
the  great  thoughts  of  His  mind  into  the  com- 
pass of  simple  language. 

"  The  Lord  hearkened."  Mark  the  extreme 
sensitiveness  of  the  Divine  love.  Here  is  a 
crowd  of  people  bringing  their  offerings,  ut- 
tering their  prayers,  thronging  the  courts  of 
the  temple ;  and  the  prophet  is  telling  them 
of  their  sin,  and  charging  them  with  sacrilege, 
profanity,  and  so  forth,  and  they,  with  their 
faces  transformed  into  veritable  notes  of  in- 
terrogation, and  stamped  with  surprise,  reply : 
"  Wherein? "  Over  there  is  a  group  who  have 
met  together  to  talk  about  God.  To  them  He 
hearkened.  This  teaches  the  sensitiveness  of 
the  eternal  love. 

The  word  translated  "  heard "  means  He 
bent  over  them  in  order  that  He  might  miss 
no  syllable  of  their  conversation.  The  first  is 
a  word  that  marks  arrest — "  He  hearkened  !  " 
The  second  shows  the  infinite  patience  of  God ; 

loo  "Wherein?" 

listening  to  their  words  as  they  talked,  not  to 
Him,  but  to  one  another  about  Him — "The 
Lord  heard."  While  the  word  "  hearkened  " 
marks  the  sensitiveness  of  the  Divine  love,  the 
word  "heard"  marks  the  strength  of  that 
love.  These  are  companion  thoughts,  they  al- 
ways go  together.  That  is  not  strong  love 
which  is  vehement,  passionate,  loud,  and  bois- 
terous. Strong  love  is  the  love  of  the  soft 
footfall,  and  the  beautiful  patience  that 
watches  with  unceasing  wakefulness  by  the 
bedside  of  the  sick,  and  nurses  the  suffering  and 
almost  flickering  life  back  to  health  and 
strength.  That  is  strong  love — the  love  which 
through  long  and  weary  nights  of  watchful- 
ness wins  the  life  from  the  black  angel  Death. 
"  The  Lord  heard  " — He  bent  over  them  and 
attended  to  them,  caught  every  syllable  that 
fell  from  their  lips,  every  intonation  and  in- 
flection of  their  voices ;  and  amid  all  the  dis- 
cord of  that  awful  day  in  which  man  had 
wandered  from  Him,  and  forgotten  Him,  here 
was  music  for  Him,  something  satisfying  even 
to  His  heart — an  Elect  Remnant  that  feared 
Him.,  thought  upon  His  name,  and  spake  one 
to  another. 

The  Lord  hearkened  and  heard,  and  a  Book 
of  Remembrance  Avas  written  before  Him  ;  for 
"  them  that  feared  the  Lord,  and  thought  upon 
3,"  a  Book  of  Remembrance,  God's 

The  Elect  Remnant  loi 

Scroll  of  Honor.  The  highest  privilege  that 
could  be  conferred  upon  the  men  of  that  or 
any  age  is  that  their  names  should  be  written 
therein.  When  the  disciples  came  back  from 
their  mission,  and  said,  "Master,  even  the 
devils  are  subject  to  us,"  Christ  replied,  "  Ee- 
joice  rather  that  your  names  are  written  in 
heaven."  We  had  not  yet  learned  to  see  these 
things  as  we  shall  do  some  day,  when  all  the 
wrongs  of  earth  are  righted,  and  we  reach 
consummation  and  finality.  There  is  only  one 
Scroll  of  Honor,  and  it  is  never  kept  on  the 
earth,  but  in  the  heavens ;  and  in  that  Book 
of  Eemembrance  have  been  written  the  names 
of  those  who,  amidst  rampant  apostasy,  have 
been  faithful ;  amidst  the  prevalence  of  dark- 
ness have  witnessed  to  the  light ;  amidst  the 
seeming  conquest  of  evil  have  been  true  to 
righteousness  and  God.  Those  names  are  in- 
scribed in  God's  Book  of  Remembrance  in  in- 
delible ink,  and  that  little  group  of  souls,  the 
Elect  Eemnant,  who  feared  Him  and  thought 
upon  His  name,  although  they  little  knew  it, 
their  names  were  being  written  in  the  Book  of 


Take  the  last  point  and  notice  the  Divine 
determination  concerning  these  people.  "  They 
shall  be  Mine,  saith  the  Lord  in  that  day  I 

102  "Wherein?" 

act."  There  has  been  some  difficulty  about 
this  translation.  The  Revised  has  altered  the 
old  form  with  some  apparent  hesitation.  The 
Hebrew  word  translated  "  make "  or  "  do 
make  "  is  one  that  is  used  in  the  broadest  pos- 
sible sense  to  indicate  activity,  and  the  refer- 
ence here  is  undoubtedly  to  the  day  when  God 
will  act.  Some  people  are  afraid  lest  the 
thought  of  God's  people  being  His  jewels 
should  be  lost  by  this  rendering,  but  it  is  not. 
n  you  read  it  as  it  is  in  the  Authorized,  "  They 
shall  be  Mine,  saith  the  Lord,  in  that  day 
when  I  make  up  My  jewels,"  you  have  an  idea 
conveyed  to  j^our  mind  that  a  day  is  coming 
when  God  will  gather  His  jewels  and  make 
them  up  into  one  great  whole,  but  this,  while 
perfectly  true,  is  nevertheless  a  very  partial 
idea.  The  real  idea  is  best  expressed  thus : 
"  They  shall  be  Mine,  saith  the  Lord  in  the 
day  Avhen  I  act — My  jewels."  The  word 
"  jewels  "is  in  the  nominative  case  in  apposi- 
tlonTo  the  pronoun  "  they,"  at  the  beginning 
of  the  sentence,  "They  shall  be  Mine  in  the 
day  when  I  act,  My  special  treasure."  So  that 
you  have  not  merely  the  assuring  and  blessed 
word  that  God  will  gather  these  people  to- 
gether. His  own  precious  treasure ;  but  there 
is  another  word,  which  goes  deeper  and  is 
more  full  of  blessed  assurance  still,  that  God 
is  coming  "  to  do  " — "  to  act,"  coming  in  upon 

The  Elect  Remnant  103 

all  this  indifference  to  set  it  right ;  and  God 
sa3^s,  "  In  the  day  I  act,  these  people  who  have 
been  faithful,  and  have  feared  My  name,  and 
thought  upon  My  name,  shall  be  My  special 
treasure."  You  see  there  is  nothing  lost.  We 
still  have  the  sweet  assurance  that  He  will 
gather  His  own  people  as  His  jewels ;  but  we 
have  also  the  great  assertion  that  He  is  com- 
ing to  act,  that  while  the  present  is  man's  day, 
God's  day  lies  ahead.  He  will  manifest  Him- 
self in  greater  power  and  glory  than  ever  be- 
fore. In  that  day  they  shall  be  Mine,  My 
jewels,  My  special  treasure." 

Beside  the  places  in  which  Israel  is  spoken 
of  as  such,  this  word  "  special  treasure,"  only 
occurs  twice  in  the  Bible.  First  it  is  used  of 
"  David's  treasures  laid  up  for  building  the 
temple  "  (1  Chron.  xxix.  3),  and  in  the  other 
place  it  is  used  in  Ecclesiastes  ii.  8  :  "  And  the 
peculiar  treasure  of  kings  and  of  the  provinces." 
David  stored  away  the  precious  things  for  the 
building  of  the  temple ;  God  is  storing  away 
His  special  treasure  for  the  construction  of  His 
own  Kingdom.  Kings  had  treasures  upon 
which  they  set  special  value ;  God  has  His 
also,  upon  which  He  sets  special  value,  human 
character  responsive  to  the  Divine  will,  fearing 
Him  and  thinking  upon  His  name ;  and  of  the 
men  and  women  of  such  character  He  declares, 
^'They  shall  be  Mine."     Thus  you  have  the 

104  "Wherein?'* 

announcement  that  God  has  not  forsaken  His 
world,  and  the  further  declaration  that  when 
He  conies  to  consummate  His  purposes,  the 
faithful  ones  amid  faithless  days,  shall  be  His 
— His  special  treasure. 

From  that  study  of  the  Elect  Eemnant  let 
us  gather  one  or  two  thoughts  for  ourselves. 
God  has  His  Elect  Eemnant  to-day  in  those 
who  fear  Him  and  think  upon  His  name.  I 
am  not  going  to  attempt,  by  any  word  I  say, 
to  measure  that  Eemnant,  and  I  rejoice  that  it 
has  never  been  revealed  to  man  in  any  dispen- 
sation. It  has  always  been  known  only  and 
exclusively  to  the  Divine  heart,  to  the  Divine 
love.  If  you  show  me  a  few  people  who  say, 
"  We  are  the  Elect  Eemnant,  we  are  the  Eem- 
nant, we  are  the  people  who  pronounce  words 
in  this  particular  way,  or  look  in  that  particu- 
lar direction,  we  are  the  people  of  God's  Elect 
Eemnant " — the  claim  is  the  sufficient  proof  of 
its  falseness  !  l^ever !  God's  Elect  Eemnant 
in  this  age  is  not  marked  off  by  any  little  hu- 
man boundary  of  sect  or  party.  God  has  His 
faithful  souls  in  the  Eoman  Catholic  Church. 
Let  us  not  blunder  about  that.  I,  for  one,  will 
not  join  in  all  the  hateful,  indiscriminate  out- 
cry against  Eoman  Catholics.  The  Eomish 
system  is  one  of  the  most  awful  the  world  has 
ever  seen ;  but  in  that  system  are  men  who 
were  born  in  it,  and  are  devout  in  it,  and  are 

The  Elect  Remnant  loj; 

better  than  it,  who  form  part  of  God's  Elect 
Eenmant.  I  have  known  such.  You  will  find 
part  of  them  in  the  great  Anglican  Church  of 
this  country ;  thank  God  there  are  thousands 
in  that  Church  who  must  be,  by  virtue  of  the 
saintliness  and  tenderness  and  compassion  of 
their  lives,  God's  Elect  Remnant.  You  find 
them  in  all  sections  of  the  Free  Church,  and  a 
great  number,  alas !  outside  the  Church  alto- 
gether. JSTo  one  Church  can  mark  off  the  Rem- 
nant of  God.  Men  entitled  to  that  distinction 
are  found  everywhere.  What  are  their  char- 
acteristics ?  Men  who  fear  Him  and  who  are 
so  conscious  of  His  Kingdom  that  they  live  in 
it ;  and  of  His  Mastership  that  they  respond 
to  it.  ]^ot  the  men  and  women  who  say 
"  Lord,  Lord,"  but  they  who  do  the  things  that 
God  approves,  l^ot  the  great  heterogeneous 
crowd  that  bow  the  head,  and  say  "  Thy  King- 
dom come.  Thy  will  be  done  "  ;  but  the  saintly 
souls  in  whose  life  the  Kingdom  is  come,  and 
the  will  is  being  done. 

These  are  His  Elect  people,  and  thank  God, 
they  are  not  confined  to  one  section  of  this 
poor,  broken-up,  fragmentary  Christendom  of 
ours,  but  are  everywhere.  Yet,  is  it  not  im- 
portant that  such  should  gather  together  to- 
day in  closest  fellowship?  That  we  should 
fear  His  name,  and  think  upon  His  name, 
and  learn  to  set  greater  value  upon  His  name 

lo6  "Wherein?" 

than  upon  any  other  ?  Is  it  not  high  time  that 
we  ceased  to  attempt,  either  by  picnic  in 
Switzerland,  or  conference  at  home,  to  arrange 
an  organic  union  ?  Is  it  not  better  that  we 
should  recognize  and  nourish  the  true  unit}^  of 
heart  that  exists  between  those  who  think 
upon  His  name,  and  take  an  inventory,  not  in 
the  wealth,  nor  in  the  organizations  of  to-day, 
but  in  that  great  Eternal  IS'ame  which  is  a 
strong  tower  of  righteousness  ? 

If  in  this  connection  I  make  any  plea,  it  is 
this :  That  in  this  day  of  large  failure,  those 
who  love  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ  in  sincerity 
and  truth — and  that  term  is  synonymous  with 
the  Old  Testament  one,  "  They  that  feared  the 
Lord  " — should  come  together,  and  enjoy  this 
fellowship,  this  oneness  of  heart.  Take  the 
old  declaration  and  put  it  in  the  new  dispensa- 
tion :  "  The  Lord  hearkened  and  the  Lord 
heard  ; "  that  marks  God's  present  interest,  and 
His  great  promise  made  concerning  such  is 
still  "  They  shall  be  Mine  in  that  day  when  I 
act."  What  interests  God  most  in  this  age  ? 
I  am  bold  to  assert  that  there  is  nothing  more 
interesting  to  the  heart  of  the  Divine  than  the 
"  closing  together  "  of  Christian  souls,  not  to 
try  to  make  their  creeds  fit  in,  or  their  organ- 
izations coalesce  ;  but  in  order  that  there  may 
be  a  creation  of  character  that  is  to  be  the 
shining  of  the  Divine  light  amid  the  darkness 

The  Elect  Remnant  107 

of  the  world.  The  Lord  hears,  and  no  syllable 
whispered  one  to  the  other,  that  has  in  it  the 
element  of  permanence,  does  His  ear  ever  miss, 
because  He  is  righteousness  and  love ;  and  of 
the  people  who  utter  these  words,  He  says, 
"  They  shall  be  Mine  in  the  day  when  I  act. 
My  special  treasure." 

Surely  it  is  such  souls  that  salt  and  season 
all  the  earth.  The  little  company  gathered 
together  when  Jesus  'came,  who  were  they  ? 
The  Elect  Kemnant ;  Zacharias  and  Elizabeth ; 
Joseph  and  Mary;  Simeon  and  Anna;  Shep- 
herds on  the  plains,  and  Wise  Men  from  afar 
— larger  than  a  Jewish  nationality,  wider 
afield  than  the  strip  of  land  called  Palestine — 
God's  Elect  souls  united  by  no  bond  of  human 
organization,  held  together  by  no  creed  of  hu- 
man manufacture,  but  one  in  that  "  they  feared 
the  Lord,  and  thought  upon  His  name." 

And  so,  when  dawns  God's  next  great  day 
— and  some  of  us  believe  the  dawning  very 
near — the  Elect  Remnant  will  be  found,  not 
bound  together  by  human  organizations,  not 
held  by  creeds ;  but  from  the  North  and  the 
South,  from  the  East  and  from  the  West, 
from  all  lands  and  climes,  from  all  the 
churches,  shall  come  the  Church — God's  Eem- 
nant,  fearing  Him  and  thinking  upon  His 




"  For,  behold,  the  day  cometh,  that  shall 
burn  as  an  oven ;  and  all  the  proud,  yea,  and 
all  that  do  wickedly,  shall  be  stubble :  and  the 
day  that  cometh  shall  burn  them  up,  saith  the 
Lord  of  Hosts,  that  it  shall  leave  them  neither 
root  nor  branch.  But  unto  you  that  fear  My 
name  shall  the  Sun  of  righteousness  arise  with 
healing  in  His  wings ;  and  ye  shall  go  forth, 
and  grow  up  as  calves  of  the  stall.  And  ye 
shall  tread  down  the  wicked ;  for  they  shall 
be  ashes  under  the  soles  of  your  feet  in  the 
day  that  I  shall  do  this,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts.  Eemember  ye  the  law  of  Moses  my 
servant,  which  I  commanded  unto  him  in 
Horeb  for  all  Israel,  with  the  statutes  and 
judgments.  Behold,  I  will  send  you  Elijah 
the  prophet  before  the  coming  of  the  great 
and  dreadful  day  of  the  Lord;  and  he  shall 
turn  the  heart  of  the  fathers  to  the  children, 
and  the  heart  of  the  children  to  their  fathers, 
lest  I  come  and  smite  the  earth  with  a  curse  " 
(Malachi  iv.). 

"  With  a  curse  " — so  ends  this  prophecy  of 
Malachi.     After  this  there  is  to  be  no  prophetic 

112  "Wherein?" 

voice,  no  direct  message  from  God  for  over 
four  hundred  years.  It  is  of  the  utmost  im- 
portance that  the  word  shall  be  one  that  shall 
arrest  attention,  one  possessed  of  the  power  to 
abide.  What  is  it  ?  The  word  "  curse?''  This 
is,  moreover,  the  last  word  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, and  that,  I  believe,  of  Divine  purpose, 
with  solemn  intention.  As  we  look  at  it  a 
little  more  closely,  we  shall  see,  that  behind 
the  fact  that  the  canon  ends  thus,  lies  the 
tenderness  of  the  Divine  heart.  God's  last 
message  to  these  people  is  intended  to  arouse 
them,  in  order  that  the  threatened  curse  may 
never  rest  upon  them.  Let  us  proceed  to  con- 
sider : — 

(1)  The  final  word  itself. 

(2)  The  Gospel  of  love  by  which  it  is  per- 

(3)  The  great  announcement :  "  Behold,  the 
day  Cometh." 

The  Final  Word. — The  whole  history  of 
man  to  this  point  is  one  of  failure ;  the  only 
word  therefore  that  is  possible  from  the  God 
of  all  perfection,  as  revealing  His  attitude  to- 
ward this  state  of  things,  is  the  Avord  "  curse." 
Read  that  history  from  the  standpoint  of  the 
Divine,  and  observe  how  constantly  it  mani- 
fests the  faithfulness  of  God,  the  tendanip^  ^^ 

The  Final  Word  113 

His  heart,  and  the  ever-moving  compassion  of 
His  nature  toward  all  men ;  but  side  by  side 
Avith  the  bright  and  wondrous  story  of  infinite 
pity  and  untiring  compassion,  you  have  the 
record  of  human  failure,  disobedience,  rebel- 
lion, murmuring.  Every  dispensation — the 
Garden  of  Eden,  the  Period  of  Conscience,  the 
Patriarchal  Age,  the  Mosaic  Economy,  the 
Days  of  the  Kings,  the  Times  of  the  Prophets 
— ends  in  failure,  and  when  God  looks  upon 
the  people  whom  he  had  called  and  created,  in 
order  that  they  might  be  a  blessing  to  the 
whole  earth,  He  says  to  them :  "  Lest  I  come 
and  smite  the  earth  with  a  curse."  But  in 
that  first  word  of  the  last  clause  shines  a  ray  of 
hope  and  of  gladness — "  Lest  I  come." 

The  Old  Testament  does  not  end  with  a 
curse  pronounced,  but  with  a  curse  threatened, 
not  with  a  word  declaring  that  hope  is  forever 
past,  and  that  there  can  be  no  redemption  and 
no  deliverance,  no  further  word,  but  with  a 
statement  intended  to  teach  that  God  has  not 
yet  pronounced  this  curse,  and  that  He  does 
not  desire  to  do  so.  "  Lest  I  come  and  smite 
the  earth  with  a  curse."  The  word  with  which 
the  prophecy  and  the  old  dispensation  end — 
end,  that  is,  so  far  as  their  teaching  is  con- 
cerned— is  the  last  appeal  of  love,  and  is  aimed 
at  averting  calamity,  by  announcing  it  as  the 
natural  sequence  of  disloyalty  and  sin. 


"  Wherein  ?  " 

The  Jew  always  understood  this  as  a  mes- 
sage of  love,  and  the  Kabbis  in  the  Synagogue 
from  then  until  the  coming  of  Christ,  and  in 
the  days  of  Christ,  and  until  this  day,  never 
end  Malachi  with  its  last  verse.  They  con- 
clude with  the  fifth  verse.  Eeading  the  last : 
"  And  He  shall  turn  the  heart  of  the  fathers 
to  the  children ;  and  the  heart  of  the  children 
to  their  fathers,  lest  I  come  and  smite  the 
earth  with  a  curse ; ''  they  revert  to  the  fifth : 
"  Behold,  I  will  send  you  Elijah,  the  prophet, 
before  the  coming  of  the  great  and  dreadful 
day  of  the  Lord." 

In  the  Septuagint,  the  fourth  verse  is  lifted 
out  of  its  place  and  put  at  the  end,  so  that  the 
Bible  does  not  end  with  the  curse.  Take  the 
verses  five,  six,  and  four,  and  read  them  in 
sequence :  "  Behold,  I  will  send  you  Elijah, 
the  prophet,  before  the  coming  of  the  great 
and  dreadful  day  of  the  Lord.  And  he  shall 
turn  the  heart  of  the  fathers  to  the  children, 
and  the  heart  of  the  children  to  their  fathers, 
lest  I  come  and  smite  the  earth  with  a  curse. 
Eemember  ye  the  law  of  Moses,  my  servant, 
which  I  commanded  unto  him  in  Iloreb  for  all 
Israel,  with  the  statutes  and  judgments."  The 
fact  that  the  Rabbis  read  the  passage  in  this 
way,  and  that  the  Septuagint  has  lifted  the 
fourth  verse  without  altering  the  number,  and 
put  it  at  the  end,  reveals  most  unmistakably 

The  Final  Word  115 

the  way  in  which  the  Hebrew  nation  under- 
stood this  message.  They  did  not  regard  it  as 
a  message  of  anger,  but  as  a  message  of  love ; 
not  the  pronouncement  of  a  curse,  but  a  warn- 
ing against  an  awful  calamity  which  might 
befall  them.  It  is  evident  that  they  under- 
stood this  final  message  to  be  a  gospel,  not  of 
wrath  but  of  love,  and  there  is  no  room  for 
doubt  that  their  exposition  was  a  correct  inter- 
pretation of  the  meaning  intended — that  God, 
looking  at  this  people  in  their  apostasy,  fool- 
hardiness,  and  impertinence,  yet  gave  them 
this  last  message  before  He  sealed  the  pro- 
phetic book — a  message  not  of  anger  but  of 
infinite  love. 


.  This  final  word  then,  being  a  warning,  and 
not  a  sentence,  is  a  Gospel  of  Love,  and  is 
closely  connected  with  a  declaration  of  the 
possibility  of  escape  from  the  threatened 
curse,  and  a  statement  of  the  condition  of 
such  escape. 

In  the  promise  of  the  coming  of  Elijah  it  is 
said  that  "He  shall  turn  the  heart  of  the 
fathers  to  the  children,  and  the  heart  of  the 
children  to  their  fathers."  That  turning  of 
heart  marks  the  condition  upon  which  the 
curse  may  be  averted.  The  mission  of  Elijah, 
as  here  indicated,  is  not  social,  but  spiritual. 

Il6  "Wherein?'* 

It  is  not  that  he  will  come  to  bring  about 
reconciliation  in  the  families  of  the  people. 
"  The  fathers  "  are  the  patriarchs  Abraham, 
Isaac,  and  Israel,  from  whose  ideals  of  life  and 
state  of  heart  these  children  have  so  sadly 
wandered,  and  the  mission  of  Elijah  shall  be 
that  of  turning  these  wandering  ones  back  to 
those  ideals,  and  to  that  state  of  heart. 

Paraphrasing  the  statement,  getting  the  in- 
ner thought  of  it,  and  putting  it  in  other 
words,  we  may  say,  Israel  shall  be  in  that 
day  Israel  indeed,  in  spirit  and  inward  life, 
and  not  in  the  mere  outward  tokens  of  their 
ritual  and  service.  The  existing  position,  as 
we  have  seen,  was  that  of  an  altar  set  up,  Avith 
sacrifices  laid  thereon,  and  feasts,  and  fasts, 
and  all  the  externals  strictly  observed,  wdiich 
marked  them  off  as  the  peculiar  people  of 
God,  while  their  heart  was  far  aw^ay ;  so  that 
of  them  Abraham,  if  he  had  moved  into  their 
midst,  would  have  said,  "These  are  not  my 
children ; "  or  Jacob,  "  These  are  surely  not 
the  sons  of  the  man  whom  God  called  Israel." 
They  had  missed  their  way,  and  corrupted  the 
covenant ;  but  God's  purpose  could  not  be  al- 
tered, and  therefore  if  the  curse  threatened 
is  not  to  become  actual,  then  it  will  be  be- 
cause "  their  heart  shall  be  turned  back  to  the 
fathers,  and  the  heart  of  the  fathers  to  the 
children."     When  they  shall  go  back  to  His 

The  Final  Word  117 

principles,  and  be  what  He  intended  they 
should  be :  when  the  externals  with  which 
they  have  been  satisfied  shall  be  nothing  in 
their  eyes,  save  the  outward  expression  of  the 
inner  meaning  of  the  covenant  of  their  God 
with  them ;  then  shall  the  curse  be  removed, 
and  showers  of  blessing  fall  from  opened  win- 
dows.    That  is  the  gospel  of  love. 

And  how  is  this  to  be  brought  about  ?  "  Be* 
hold  I  will  send  you  Elijah  before  the  coming 
of  the  great  and  dreadful  day  of  ■  the  Lord 
(verse  iiYe).  Elijah,  another  messenger,  is  to  be 
sent.  The  prophecy  is  not  fulfilled ;  the  mat- 
ter is  still  open,  one  other  voice  is  to  sound, 
one  other  message  to  be  delivered,  and  that 
voice  will  sound  and  that  message  be  deliv- 
ered just  as  the  King  Himself  is  coming. 

The  fulfillment  of  that  promise,  we  all  un- 
derstand, was  in  the  coming  of  John  the  Bap- 
tist ;  but  because  there  are  apparently  contra- 
dictory verses  concerning  it,  let  us  make  a 
digression  to  consider  them. 

John  i.  21 :  "  And  they  asked  him  " — that  is 
John  the  Baptist — "  What  then  ?  Art  thou 
Elias  ?  And  he  saith,  I  am  not."  Matt.  xvii. 
10-13:  "And  His  disciples  asked  Him,"  that 
is  Jesus,  "  saying,  Why  then  say  the  scribes 
that  Elias  must  first  come  ?  Jesus  answered 
and  said  unto  them,  Elias  truly  shall  first  come, 
and  restore  all  things.     But  I  say  unto  you, 

Ii8  "Wherein?'* 

that  Elias  is  come  already,  and  they  knew  him 
not,  but  have  done  unto  him  whatsoever  they 
listed.  Likewise  shall  also  the  Son  of  man 
suffer  of  them.  Then  the  disciples  understood 
that  He  spake  unto  them  of  John  the  Baptist." 
Here  is  an  apparent  contradiction.  John  says, 
"  I  am  not."  Jesus  says,  "  He  is."  The  in- 
terpretation of  Scripture  is  always  within  it- 
self, and  the  solution  in  this  case  is  to  be  found 
in  yet  another  gospel — Luke  i.  16,  17.  The 
heavenly  messenger  in  announcing  the  coming 
of  the  Baptist,  says  of  him :  "  Many  of  the 
children  of  Israel  shall  he  turn  to  the  Lord 
their  God.  And  he  shall  go  before  Him  in 
the  spirit  and  power  of  Elias  " — mark  how  the 
very  words  and  thoughts  of  Malachi's  proph- 
ecy are  taken — "  to  turn  the  hearts  of  the 
fathers  to  the  children,  and  the  disobedient  to 
the  wisdom  of  the  just ;  to  make  ready  a  peo- 
ple prepared  for  the  Lord."  John  said,  "  I  am 
not."  That  was  John's  answer  to  the  literal- 
ness  of  the  outlook  of  the  people  of  his  day. 
They  were  in  direct  succession  to  those  to 
whom  Malachi  spoke,  living  in  externals, 
slavishly  following  the  letter.  When  John 
came,  they  said,  "  Art  thou  really  Elias  ? " 
He  replied,  "  I  am  not."  It  was  a  negative  to 
the  literalness  that  had  grown  out  of  their 
apostasy  of  heart.  But  the  King  Himself  said, 
"Elias  is  already  come,"  and  they  knew  He 

The  Final  Word  I19 

meant  John.  "With  reference  to  his  coming, 
the  angel  sang,  "  John  shall  come  in  the  spirit 
and  power  of  Elias,"  and  it  was  in  this  spiritual 
sense  that  Jesus  claimed  John  as  the  fulfillment 
of  the  word.  John  was  perfectly  right  there- 
fore when  he  corrected  their  literalness  by 
saying  he  was  not  Elias  ;  and  the  King  was 
true  when  He  said  he  was  Elias,  that  there 
Avas  in  him  a  fulfillment  of  the  last  prophecy 
of  Malachi.  This  is  an  interesting  illustration 
of  the  comprehension  of  the  old  dispensation 
in  the  new,  by  a  spiritual  interpretation  of  the 
things  of  God,  which  renders  impossible  that 
which  is  merely  literal  and  external. 


Between  the  time  of  Malachi  and  this  com- 
ing of  one  in  the  spirit  and  power  of  Elias, 
four  hundred  years  ran  their  course.  During 
this  period  the  Gospel  contained  in  these  final 
words  was  the  only  message  to  man.  What 
was  the  forceful  element  therein  ?  Wherever 
it  was  a  word  of  power,  transforming  lives  and 
changing  conduct,  as  in  the  cases  of  Simeon 
and  Anna,  and  doubtless  many  beside,  it  was 
so,  by  virtue  of  the  promise  of  the  dawn  of  the 
day  of  God.  To  those  who  looked  for  the 
time  of  Divine  interposition,  and  lived  as  in 
hourly  expectation  of  it,  life  became  a  new 
experience,  and  in  their  character  the  Gospel 

no  "Wherein?'^ 

of  Love  wrought  miracles  of  transformation 
and  beauty.  The  first  three  verses  of  chapter 
four  contain  the  words  of  that  promise :  "  Be- 
hold the  day  cometh  that  shall  burn  as  an 
oven ;  and  all  the  proud,  yea,  and  all  that  do 
wickedly,  shall  be  stubble ;  and  the  day  that 
cometh  shall  burn  them  up,  saith  the  Lord  of 
Hosts,  that  it  shall  leave  them  neither  root 
nor  branch.  But  unto  you  that  fear  My  name 
shall  the  Sun  of  righteousness  arise  with  healing 
in  His  wings :  and  ye  shall  go  forth,  and  grow 
up  as  calves  of  the  stall.  And  ye  shall  tread 
down  the  wicked ;  for  they  shall  be  ashes  un- 
der the  souls  of  your  feet  in  the  day  that  I  act, 
saith  the  Lord  of  Hosts." 

This  is  the  great  announcement,  which  abode 
upon  the  heart  and  consciousness  of  this  peo- 
ple for  four  hundred  years.  Certain  it  is  that 
they  slighted  it,  and  most  probably  argued 
against  it,  and  tried  to  prove  it  was  not  literal ; 
but  it  was  the  forceful  element  in  the  Gospel 
of  Love  during  that  whole  period.  When 
Jesus  came,  Simeon  and  Anna  and  a  few  wise 
shepherds  forming  God's  Elect  Eemnant,  were 
waiting  for  the  day  that  should  "  burn  as  an 
oven " ;  for  the  "  rising  of  the  Sun  with  heal- 
ing in  His  wings." 

l^otice  particularly  here  that  while  two 
things  are  stated,  they  are  in  reality  one : 
"  Behold,  the  day  cometh  that  shall  burn  as 

The  Final  Word  121 

an  oven ;— but  unto  you  that  fear  My  name 
shall  the  Sun  of  righteousness  arise  with  heal- 
ing in  His  wings."  This  is  one  event  having 
two  sides  to  it.  It  may  be  in  the  matter  of 
thne,  reckoning  things  by  human  methods, 
that  one  will  precede  the  other,  but  the  suc- 
cession is  within  the  unity.  The  great  an- 
nouncement is  that  of  the  Divine  activity  of 
the  future.  God  is  leaving  this  people  with- 
out a  prophetic  message  for  four  hundred 
years;  but  His  final  word  is,  "I  am  not 
abandoning  the  earth ;  evil  is  not  a  triumphant 
force ;  while  they  Avho  perform  evil  appear  to 
be  flourishing  to-day,  there  is  an  end  coming 
to  all  these  things."  God  will  act !  The  day 
cometh  which  shall  burn ;  all  against  which 
the  plaintive  protest  of  love  has  been  uttered 
in  vain,  shall  be  destroyed  and  swept  away 
when  that  day  begins.  "  But  to  you  that  fear 
My  name  " — the  Elect  Remnant — "  the  Sun  of 
righteousness  shall  arise  with  healing  in  His 

And  how  will  He  act  ?  As  a  fire  of  destruc- 
tion to  impurity  and  as  a  sweet  balm  of  heal- 
ing to  those  that  fear  His  name.  And  this 
day  will  be  ushered  in,  not  by  any  gradual 
process,  overcoming  the  evil  of  the  age,  but 
by  a  sudden,  abrupt  transition.  Elijah  first, 
with  his  last  message,  and  then  the  King, 
coming  suddenly  to  His  temple,  the  day  break- 

122  "Wherein?" 

ing,  the  "  Sun  rising  with  healing  in  His 
wings."  How  beautifully  these  things  coa- 
lesce so  far  as  the  great  central  fact  is  con- 
cerned!  "Behold  the  day  cometh."  "The 
Sun  shall  rise."  The  same  thing.  "  The  day 
cometh  ;  the  Sun  shall  rise."  "  A  day  shall 
burn  as  an  oven."  "  The  Sun  shall  have  heal- 
ing in  His  wings."  It  is  all  one  day.  "  A  day 
cometh."  When  will  it  come  ?  "  When  the 
Sun  rises."  "The  day  that  is  coming  will 
burn."  How  will  it  burn  ?  The  Sun  shall  be 
the  scorching  heat  that  will  burn,  but  the  Sun 
will  also  have  healing  in  His  wings.  It  de- 
pends on  the  character  of  the  men  ujjon  whom 
His  light  falls  whether  they  shall  he  hurned  or 
healed.     It  is  the  same  day. 

Look  at  it  again  yet  more  closely.  "  The 
day  cometh  that  shall  burn  as  an  oven."  In 
the  fifteenth  verse  of  the  third  chapter  you 
find  these  words,  "  And  now  we  call  the  proud 
happy;  yea,  they  that  work  wickedness  are 
set  up — they  that  worh  wichedness  are  set  up^ 
N'ow  notice  chapter  four,  verse  one :  "  All  the 
proud,  yea,  and  all  that  do  wickedly,  shall  be 
stubble."  Do  you  see  the  change?  When 
that  day  cometh  the  old  order  of  things 
shall  be  reversed.  To-day  you  are  setting  up 
the  wicked,  calling  them  happy;  but  when 
God's  day  breaks  the  proud  and  wicked  shall 
be  as  stubble.     The   '' set-up"   things  of    an 

The  Final  Word  123 

apostate  age  shall  be  stubble  in  the  day  of 
God ;  stubble  when  the  Sun  of  righteousness 
is  shining. 

But  how  can  these  apparently  contradictory 
things  be  the  same  ?  They  can  be  no  other 
than  the  same.  How  is  day  ever  made  but 
by  the  coming  of  the  Sun,  and  to  follow  inter- 
pretation finely,  it  is  by  the  rising  of  the  Sun 
that  there  shall  be  healing.  What  men  shall 
catch  daybreak  first  ?  Not  the  men  who  are 
wicked  and  are  to  be  as  stubble,  but  the 
watchers  on  the  mountains  ;  souls  who  have 
been  tired  of  the  apostate  age  and  have  been 
saying,  "  Lord,  come  !  come !  "  They  first  will 
see  the  break  of  the  day,  and  to  them  its  rosy 
tints  will  bring  healing,  "  and  the  Sun  shall  rise 
with  healing  in  His  wings  " ;  and,  then,  when 
He  is  risen  in  the  meridians,  strong  with 
scorching  heat,  all  things  stubble  shall  be 
burned  up. 

We  all  know  the  different  effect  the  sun  has 
upon  different  things.  There  is  a  tree  planted 
by  the  river;  the  running  stream  waters  its 
roots,  and  the  summer  sunshine,  falling  upon 
it,  makes  it  spring  to  green  and  beauty ;  and 
here  is  a  field  of  stubble,  and  the  same  sun 
that  touches  the  tree  by  the  river  into  beauty, 
burns  the  stubble  with  its  scorching  rays. 
The  same  thing  brings  in  the  one  case  life, 
and  in  the  other  barrenness  and  waste.     God's 

124  "Wherein?'* 

message  is,  "  My  day  is  coming.  I  shall  act." 
"  Behold,  the  day  cometh  which  will  heal  and 
burn."  It  will  heal  the  souls  that  wait  for  Him, 
the  wounded  souls  of  the  night.  It  will  heal 
them,  why  ?  Because  they  are  planted  by  the 
rivers  of  water,  because  all  their  springs  are 
in  God,  and  to  them  God's  Sun  comes  with 
beauty,  health,  and  light,  and  "  healing  in  His 
wings  " ;  but  to  those  on  this  side,  the  men  of 
stubble  that  are  set  up  to-day,  that  have  no 
springs  outside  themselves,  that  have  not  found 
their  roots  spreading  out  by  the  river's  edge 
to  the  eternal  waters,  the  Sun  shall  be  a 
scorching  heat ;  they  shall  be  stubble  in  that 

So  the  word  ends,  Malachi's  voice  ceases. 
He  had  described  their  condition,  told  them  of 
God's  infinite  love;  and  he  makes  this  final 
announcement,  that  God  is  not  abandoning 
them  nor  the  world,  that  the  day  is  coming 
when  the  Sun  will  rise.  He  declares  to  them 
the  different  result  produced  upon  two  condi- 
tions of  life,  and  then  with  pathos  in  every 
tone  of  his  voice  he  utters  the  Divine  words : 
"I  will  send  you  Elijah  before  that  day  to 
turn  your  heart  to  the  fathers,  and  the  heart 
of  the  fathers  to  the  children,  lest  God  smite 
the  earth  with  a  curse." 

Before  considering  the  application  of  this 
final  message  to  the  age  in  which  we  live,  it 

The  Final  Word  125 

should  he  noted  that  the  second  part  of  the 
Divine  programme — second  in  order,  though 
first  named  as  most  needed  by  the  people  to 
whom  it  was  addressed,  Mai.  iii.  1 — has  not 
yet  been  carried  out.  The  King  came  and 
preached  "  the  acceptable  year  of  the  Lord." 
There  He  closed  the  book.  "  The  day  of 
vengeance  of  our  God  "  still  lies  ahead.  For 
reasons  that  lie  deep  in  the  infinite  wisdom  of 
the  Eternal  He  still  waits,  and  while  we  some- 
times sigh  for  day,  we  rejoice  by  faith  in  His 
"  long-suffering,"  knowing  that  with  Him  our 
weary  years  are  not,  for  "  one  day  is  with  the 
Lord  as  a  thousand  years,  and  a  thousand 
years  as  one  day."  Yet  surely  His  first  ad- 
vent did  scatter  fire  on  the  earth,  which  is 
even  now  at  work  amid  all  the  upheaval  and 
collapse  of  human  might  and  wisdom,  prepar- 
ing the  way  for  the  new  day  of  God,  at  the 
dawn  of  which  the  burning  of  the  first  kindled 
fire  shall  answer  the  new  fire  revelation,  and 
leave  of  things  wicked  no  root  nor  branch. 

Point  by  point  we  have  seen  how  solemn  the 
application  of  this  final  word  of  the  old  pro- 
phetic age  is  to  the  age  in  which  we  live.  Chris- 
tendom is  largely  astray  to-day,  and  I  hope 
you  notice  I  have  been  careful  to  differentiate 
between  the  Church  of  Christ  and  Christen- 
dom. The  Church  of  Jesus  Christ  no  man 
knoweth  but  Himself  and  the  Father.      No 

126  "Wherein'?" 

man  can  say  this  or  that  is  the  Church,  or  that 
it  is  here  or  there.  The  Church  is  a  sacred 
entity  that  He  alone  knows,  which  is  loyal  to 
Him  to-day  and  ever  has  been.  Christendom, 
the  mixed  multitude  that  calls  itself  by  the 
name  of  Christ,  that  says  to  Him,  "  Lord, 
Lord,"  and  yet  does  not  the  things  that  He 
says,  is  sadly  astray ;  and  yet  the  Divine  love 
is  still  brooding  over  all,  and  calling  in  words 
of  infinite  tenderness,  complaining  to  His  own 
people  who  are  forgetful  of  the  principles  of 
righteousness  by  which  He  will  complete  His 
work  in  the  days  to  come.  Thanlv  God,  there 
is  an  Elect  Eemnant.  He  has  never  left  Him- 
self without  a  witness,  and,  I  believe,  there 
never  were  so  many  hearts  loyal  to  Christ  as 
there  are  to-day — men  and  women  desiring 
that  His  kingdom  should  come  to  the  earth, 
and  realizing  that  it  must  come  in  their  own 
lives  and  hearts ;  an  Elect  Remnant,  fearing 
the  Lord,  hearkening  to,  and  honoring  the 
voice  of  the  Master. 

How  ends  the  word  of  inspiration  for  this 
age  ?  AYill  you  turn  to  the  last  word  of  the 
'New  Testament  ?  "  The  grace  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  be  with  you  all."  The  Revised 
Version  has  an  important  alteration  in  this 
passage.  "  The  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ 
be  with  the  saints,"  instead  of  "  with  you  all." 
"  With  the  saints."     The  last  word  of  the  Old 

The  Final  Word  127 

Testament  is  "  Curse  " ;  the  last  word  of  the 
'New,  according  to  the  revision,  is  "  Saints.'' 
And  jet  in  the  inner  thought  of  these  two 
words  there  is  an  identity  of  meaning.  The 
word  translated  "  curse "  in  the  Old  is  the 
word  "  devoted,"  as  in  the  case  of  Achan  and 
his  treasure  "  devoted  "  to  destruction.  "  Lest 
I  smite  the  earth  with  a  curse  " — that  is,  lest  I 
devote  it  to  judgment.  The  last  word  of  the 
New  Testament  describes  the  people  of  God  as 
"saints,"  separated,  set  apart,  devoted.  The 
devotion  in  the  two  cases  is  as  wide  asunder  as 
the  poles,  but  the  inner  thought  is  identical ; 
it  is  that  of  the  sovereignty  of  God.  "  Lest  I 
smite  the  earth  with  a  devotion  to  destruc- 
tion." "  The  grace  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ 
be  with  those  devoted  to  the  will  of  God ; " 
God's  sovereignty  wearied  by  the  old  to  be 
realized  by  the  new — Moses  and  Jesus.  God 
is  behind  and  over  all,  and  He  asserts  Himself 
in  the  closing  words  of  both  Old  and  JSTew. 

It  is  needless  for  me  to  say  I  believe  in  ver- 
bal and  plenary  inspiration.  If  Ave  could  only 
read  from  the  writing  of  the  original  manu- 
scripts we  should  find  every  preposition  in  its 
place,  and  the  smallest  words  alive  with  in- 
finite meaning.  That  is  my  stand  with  re- 
gard to  this  book  of  God,  and  I  therefore  see 
tremendous  force  in  this  fact  concerning  the 
closing  words  of  the  Testaments.     What  is  the 

128  "Wherein?" 

last  word  of  tlie  New  ?  "  The  grace  of  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ  be  with  the  saints."  What 
is  grace  ?  The  law  revealed.  The  grace  of 
God  is  that  which  pleases  God,  and  in  its  ap- 
plication to  us  it  is  the  unmerited  favor  of 
God.  What  is  the  favor  which  is  unmerited  ? 
It  is  the  love  which,  stooping  to  our  condition, 
teaches  us  how  to  obey  the  law,  and  not  only 
teaches  us  how,  but  energizes  us  for  obedience. 
I  am  so  anxious  that  men  should  understand 
that  grace  does  not  mean  that  God  has  put 
morality  on  one  side,  or  excuses  anybody  for 
immorality  or  impurity.  Grace  means,  we  are 
to  be  all  that  God  intended  us  to  be.  It  means 
that  Christ,  by  life  and  death,  and  resurrection 
and  living  power,  will  bring  into  our  lives, 
poor,  weak,  wretched  as  they  are,  all  the  req- 
uisite force  that  we  may  obey  every  word 
that  God  has  spoken  in  His  declaration  of  His 
requirement  concerning  man. 

And  what  is  the  element  of  force  in  this  new 
Gospel  of  love  ?  In  the  twelfth  verse  of  the 
same  chapter  you  have  the  announcement, 
"  Behold,  I  come  quickly,  and  My  reward  is 
with  Me."  Just  as  the  old  covenant  ended 
with  the  voice  that  told  of  the  coming  of  the 
Lord,  so  does  the  new.  I  am  not  going  to  at- 
tempt to  deal  fully  with  the  subject  of  the 
coming  of  Jesus  Christ.  Let  me  simply  say 
that  what  is  before  us  to-day — the  next  thing 

The  Final  Word  129 

— is  His  second  advent.  What  was  the  last 
thing?  His  first  coming  and  Pentecost. 
Nothing  has  happened  since  then!  Write 
your  history,  total  up  your  battles  fought,  and 
won,  and  lost,  talk  in  praise  of  statesmen  and 
politicians  if  you  will — yet  nothing  has  hap- 
pened !  As  God  watches  the  movements  of 
men  He  counts  upon  the  strokes  of  the  great 
clock  of  Eternity,  and  the  last  was  the  birth 
of  Christ  and  His  work  and  Cross  and  Pente- 
cost ;  and  the  next,  "  Behold  I  come  quickly." 
There  is  nothing  between.  Some  of  us  believe 
we  are  very  near  to  the  next.  It  cannot  be 
very  long  before  that  voice  sounds ;  but  there 
will  be  a  twofold  aspect  of  this  day  of  God, 
"  The  Sun  rising  with  healing  in  His  wings '-' ; 
"  A  day  that  will  burn  as  an  oven," — follow- 
ing one  another,  but  only  one  event,  the  com- 
ing of  Christ — first  the  Sun  of  righteousness 
with  healing  in  His  wings,  and  then  the  day 
that  follows  it,  a  day  that  burns.  Our  eyes 
are  toward  that  event,  the  eyes  of  the  world 
should  also  be  toward  that  event.  Knowingly 
or  unknowingly,  humanity  waits  in  its  sufter- 
ing,  sorrow,  and  sin,  in  its  baptism  of  tears 
and  blood, — for  what  ?  For  the  King.  Parties 
are  leaderless,  and  nations  are  all  at  unrest. 

"  Broken  lies  creation, 
Shaken  earth's  foundation, 
Anchorless  each  nation : 
Lord,  come  away  1 " 

130  "Wherein'?" 

The  Kingdom  is  waiting  for  the  King.  Men 
who  do  not  realize  it  are  nevertheless  waiting 
for  Him.  What  will  His  coming  mean  ?  It 
depends  upon  individual  character.  To  those 
who  fear  His  name — the  Sun  of  righteousness 
and  healing.  To  the  proud  and  all  who  do 
wickedly — fire !  burning  them  as  stubble. 

That  is  no  pessimistic  outlook:  it  is  the 
only  optimism.  To  hope  for  the  conversion 
of  the  world  by  the  preaching  of  the  Word  of 
God  in  this  dis]3ensation,  is  to  hope  against 
revelation  and  fact.  People  are  multiplying 
by  the  natural  laws  of  increase,  far  more 
swiftly  than  converts  are  being  made.  Nay, 
the  King  is  coming  and  that  is  the  final  mes- 

I  end  with  a  question  and  I  leave  the 
thought  for  answering  solemnly  when  we  are 
alone.  Revelation  xxii.  16,  17 :  "I  Jesus  have 
sent  my  angel  to  testify  unto  you  these  things 
in  the  Churches.  I  am  the  root  and  the  off- 
spring of  David,  and  the  bright  and  morning 
star."  We,  if  we  are  in  the  Church,  wait  for 
the  rising  of  that  Star.  "  And  the  Spirit  and 
the  Bride  say.  Come."  Can  I  say,  "  Come  "  to 
Christ's  announcement  that  He  is  coming? 
"  Behold,  I  come  quickly  "  ;  can  I  say  "  Come, 
Lord  Jesus "  ?  There  is  no  test  concerning 
holiness  of  life  and  character  equal  to  that. 
"  I  cannot  say  '  Come,'  "  says  one :  "  there  arr 

The  Final  Word  131 

ties  that  hokl  me  here."  Well,  the  sooner  the 
earthly  tie  is  riven  the  better ;  and  the  sooner 
in  harmony  with  the  Spirit  we  can  say  to  Him 
"  Come  !  "  the  better  it  will  be  for  us  and  the 
earth.  Elijah  came  before  the  coming  of  Jesus 
long  ago,  and  the  hearts  of  the  children  were 
turned  to  the  fathers  by  thousands  through 
his  preaching,  and  I  believe  that  to-day  the 
signs  of  the  times  point  to  the  nearness  of  the 
coming  of  Jesus  Christ.  There  never  was  a 
day  when  the  hunger  for  spirituality  of  work 
and  definite  teaching  concerning  the  Book  of 
God  was  as  keen  as  it  is  to-day.  Everywhere 
churches  are  crying  out  for  definite  spiritual 
life.  What  does  it  portend  ?  I  believe  it  is 
the  latter  rain ;  and  next :  the  King  !  /^ 

That  we  may  not  be  ashamed  at  His  coming, 
let  us  walk  with  persistent  and  never-ceasing 
care.  The  externals  are  of  secondary  import, 
and  will,  of  a  natural  sequence,  fall  into  true 
place,  if  in  the  deepest  recesses  of  our  inner 
life  we  are  true  to  Him. 

To  lonely,  personal,  solemn  heart-searching 
would  I  call  the  whole  of  God's  people  to-day, 
and  if  the  thought  that  rises  most  easily  be 
the  one  expressed  in  the  olden  day  by  the 
question  WHEEEIN  ?  then  in  very  deed  is 
the  need  for  humbling  before  God  most  sure.   ^ 


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Date  Due 


V.        V 


BS1675  8.M84 

Whenn  have  we  robbed  God7:Malachi 

iiZ,^?"  theological  Sem„ 

nary-Speer  Librar 

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